Q: My neighbor gave me three pieces from his peony, including the tuber. When and how can I replant them?

ó Patty Prince, Akron

A: Peonies are best propagated by division, and the best time to do that is fall. Itís preferable to prepare the planting site two to four weeks in advance by mixing in some organic matter and perhaps a handful of garden fertilizer, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension says in a fact sheet (http://byf.unl.edu/Peony).

But since you already have the divisions, you can plant them now and hope for the best.

You might want to dust the cut surfaces with a fungicide first to discourage infection and rot, the UNL Extension advises.

Plant the divisions in an area that gets full sun and has good drainage. Dig the hole wide enough to accommodate all the roots without bending them or forcing them to fit, the extension says. Position each plant in its hole so the uppermost eye is no more than 1 to 2 inches below the natural soil surface.

Water the peonies well right after you plant them, and make sure they get enough water throughout the summer. During dry spells, give them a good soaking whenever the soil becomes dry ó enough to get water all the way down to the bottom of their roots, the Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County advises.

Avoid frequent, shallower waterings, because that causes roots to grow close to the surface. You want to encourage deep root growth to help the plants survive dry conditions.

Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to mbrecken@thebeaconjournal.com. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.