The Q&A Archives: Tree Peony

Question: I have a tree peony (Lut Ludlowii) and it is seven feet high and seven to eight feet wide. This year it threw several shoots from the wood stock and many leaves causing it to be very thick and large. My questions is can I now trim out the shoots? I don't want to thin out the stems and leaves to make it more manageable? This year it only had a few blooms after my son trimmed it last fall back into the wood a bit to clean it up. Would that cause it to have fewer blooms for the year and will it recover next year?

Answer: Once your tree peony has been growing for several years and has many branches, it may be necessary to cut out extra growth in the interior of the shrub. To do so, select 6 to 10 of the strongest branches as the major stems of the plant. This will allow the peony to concentrate its strength on flowering in its main branches, rather than excessive leaf growth. It will also eliminate chances for fungus to grow, allowing more light and air to circulate in the plant. The only regular pruning required is to remove deadwood after the plants leaf out in spring and to remove spent flowers. Tree Peonies are grafted onto Herbaceous Peony roots and occasionally a shoot from the rootstock will push through the soil. Such shoots should be removed as soon as they appear. Hope this answers all your questions!

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