Pruning Tree Peonies

Asked September 7, 2016, 5:36 PM EDT

My tree peonies are all over the ground, and look terribly sloppy. Can you give some advice as to when and the best way to prune them. Thank you, Mary Ann Tarantola 570-620-1392

Monroe County Pennsylvania

1 Response

Thank you for your question. Tree Peonies set their buds late summer into early fall so you should prune them right after they flower (just as the flowers are fading) to prevent the loss of next year's flowers. Fowers develop early on existing wood. If you prune to a four foot height, you will see the blooms at a favorable eye level, and they may be less likely to flop. Never cut tree peonies to the ground as you would their herbaceous relatives. Using a sharp set of pruners, cut at an angle just above the place of a new bud. Dip the pruners in a 10% bleach/water solution after each cut. In early spring, after plants leaf out, assess winter dieback and prune out any damaged or broken stems.

I hope this helps.