Peony Division Advice Needed (lots of questions)
My mom has this large old peony bush by her house, that has been there as far back as I can recall (I'm 30 now - it could be anywhere from 20-40 years for all I know). She's extremely sentimentally attached to this bush, and completely fears any sort of disturbance to the roots. She's very afraid of losing the plant.
Now, I'd love to have a division of it at my own home for the same sentimental reasons, but when I told her that "the internet" says you have to dig the entire plant up to propagate it, she paled at the thought.
My dad suggested that instead of digging up and separating her precious plant, that we simply take a sharp shovel/spade and slice down a section of the plant while it's in the ground and lift out said section - leaving majority of the plant alone. I can't seem to find anything online that condones this method though. Are there any reasons to avoid doing that? Will it greatly disturb and upset the parent plant?
Is there a very specific process I can go through to assure my mother that her plant will survive? Or is it even as delicate as she imagines? Also what time of year is best for doing this (Fall vs Spring)?
From what I've read on this forum tonight I think there's a very good chance her parent plant is already finding itself too deep in the soil - as this year Mom complained of not getting a single bloom for the first time in many years.
Any advice and help at all would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!