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Digging and Dividing Peony Roots


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Peonies with overcrowded roots sometimes fail to bloom, or bloom poorly. Divide crowded peonies in the fall when temperatures begin to cool. Divided peonies come into full bloom again in a season or two.

Digging

  • Cut the plant back to 4 inches above the soil, then dig around the roots carefully to keep as many tubers and roots intact as possible. Dig about 8 inches deep, then slide the shovel or garden fork under the roots and pry upward. Remove loose soil by gently shaking the clump.

Dividing

  • Cut the clumps apart with a sharp knife so that each division has three to five eyes and a good portion of roots. Replant as soon as possible.

Replanting

  • Replant clumps so that the eyes are an inch or two below the soil’s surface. Peonies planted too deeply bloom poorly or not at all. Space the plants 4 to 5 feet apart. After planting, water well and apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch.

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