Cutting Back Peonies - Knowledgebase Question

Hillsdale, MI
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Question by juliespence
September 16, 2004
I planted peonies this year and want to know if I should cut the foliage back this fall or just let them go.

Answer from NGA
September 16, 2004
It's best to allow the foliage to die back on its own by experiencing a hard frost. This will signal the roots to go into dormancy. (If you cut the tops of the plants off, the roots will respond by producing new foliage, which saps strength from the roots.) After the foliage is blackened by frost, cut everything down to soil level. You can prevent the soil from freezing and thawing by placing a few inches of organic matter over the garden bed.

Best wishes with your peonies!

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