Q: I have four 15-year-old peony plants. Nearby trees are creating too much shade for good blooms. When is the best time to transplant them to a sunnier location?
A: Although they are blooming now, peonies are best divided in October. Lift the clump with a spading fork and gently wash soil away from the roots. If the plant looks vigorous, you can use a sharp knife to separate off a couple of sections that have a strong root system. Plant the peonies into a well-prepared sunny bed. Fertilize lightly in spring. They may not bloom strongly for a couple of years afterward.