Peonies forum: Looking for advice on moving an old peony

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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Oct 4, 2011 12:31 PM CST
I read all the Hollingsworth information, but I still have some questions. I have a NOID peony (big fluffy pink flowers--very pretty) that's been here since we moved in 11 years ago. It's in an unfortunate spot, too close to the house and a large lilac bush on the west side and it's shaded by the large trees in the yard. I'd like to move it, but I'm a novice when it comes to Peonies. Should I cut back the foliage before trying to move it, or should I wait till next spring or summer?
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Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Oct 4, 2011 1:12 PM CST
You may get information from someone more experienced than I am but fall is the best time to transplant peonies. If you order from peony growers like Adelmans they will ship in the fall. Dig trying to get as large a root mass as possible and replant a healthy section with several eyes at the same level....not to deep. Cut off foliage. They may take a year to establish.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
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Oldgardenrose
Oct 4, 2011 1:56 PM CST
This an average discussion of dividing peonies but covers all the basics. There are some sites which give a longer version but they all say essentially the same. Now is the perfect time to dig and replant. I dig a hole larger than required, add some fertilizer to the bottom, and back fill to reach the correct depth. A straightedge item placed across the top of the hole makes it easy to set the new transplant to the correct depth. I prefer about an inch where two inches is recommended in colder areas.

http://hollingsworthpeonies.com/dividing_and_replanting_a_pe...

Should have read your post more carefully but yes, cut the foliage down to about two inches prior to digging. No point in handling more material than required. I just cut all my peonies off for the winter.
[Last edited by Oldgardenrose - Oct 4, 2011 9:19 AM (+)]
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Oct 4, 2011 2:21 PM CST
Good point about when peony orders are shipped. I have one on order that is supposed to ship soon.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
Oct 4, 2011 2:24 PM CST
See what happens when I wander off and forget to refresh the page before posting? Thanks, Jerry. Guess I'd better go start looking for a place to dig a hole! Smiling
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
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Oldgardenrose
Oct 4, 2011 3:35 PM CST
Contrary to most advice, I found the common peonies appreciate some light shade instead of full sun all day long. The red blossoms do not fade and dry as quickly. They seem to bloom a little later which protects them from late frosts. The foliage remains green later into into early October. Most peonies in this area are planted on the east side of houses. I have some in full sun and can really see a difference. As far as drainage is concerned, raised beds work well if the normal soil is generally damp or wet clay.
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Oct 4, 2011 3:50 PM CST
Mine are all in full sun. If it doesn't get hot to early in June they last quite well. Hot summers they go quicker.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Oct 4, 2011 4:12 PM CST
This one is getting entirely too much shade and not enough water. It's right up against the foundation of the house, too, so it's going to be a bit difficult to dig out. And it may have to go into a raised bed, as my garden area is parked on top of a sub-irrigated field. I may just divide it and move part of it over away from the lilac and farther out from the house, and put another bit in the new garden area I'm trying to develop. I would think that since it's at least 11 years old, it should be ready to be divided?
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
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Oldgardenrose
Oct 4, 2011 4:20 PM CST
We have temps approaching 100 and higher from late June to mid-September. I have made many trips to SLC but only in the spring and fall. UP railroad had a tech training center in the old passenger depot there until the operation was moved to the junior college.
Name: Diann
Iowa (Zone 5a)
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Ticker
Oct 4, 2011 9:31 PM CST

Moderator

Woofie, just remember when you dig that old peony you'll need to divide it down and don't plant it in the same spot you took it out of. And yes, right now is the ideal time to be digging and dividing and replanting peony. :)
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
Oct 5, 2011 9:43 AM CST
Now, what is the reason for not planting in the same spot? I was thinking about moving part of it over about 4 feet, to get it out of the shade of the lilac.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
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Oldgardenrose
Oct 5, 2011 2:00 PM CST
I think Ticker meant do not replant it in the same hole from which you dug it. Each plant type extracts certain nutrients from the soil so it is better to replant in a different spot. Several feet should be adequate. It is the same process as farmers use in crop rotation. Garden vegetables are subject to the same process. Besides nutrients, diseases are a factor in replanting the same area with the same plants over a period of time. Short version--you should be ok by moving it 4 or 5 feet.
Name: Diann
Iowa (Zone 5a)
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Ticker
Oct 6, 2011 8:09 PM CST

Moderator

Correct, not the same hole. 4 to 5 feet away is far enough. Thanks OG for clarifying it. :)
Name: Sheila
Central Kansas (Zone 6a)
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pinkbubbless66
Apr 7, 2014 12:45 PM CST
We made a new garden in the fall of 2012. At that time, nothing was there but grass or so it appeared. I did find what I believed to be peony roots when I started raking the ground after digging. Spring of 2013, nothing, but found out, my dd weeded my iris and pulled up the lovely red plants poking out of the ground thinking they were weeds. I have peonies coming up in 5 places! We dug this area up with a backhoe originally. (New house to me) Can I dig/move them now? Everything I have read says fall. If that is the case, what do I do with them now? They are about 2" tall and growing in the midst of my iris bed. Has anyone had any luck with moving them in the spring? Our lows are still in the mid 20-mid 40 range. Thanks for all your help!
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
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Oldgardenrose
Apr 7, 2014 1:27 PM CST
I cannot offer advice on this but I can say how I would handle it. Late summer/early fall is the time to dig iris, and also a reasonable time to dig peonies if they are dormant. That way, one could dig them both at the same time with less damage to either.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
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LizinElizabeth
Apr 7, 2014 6:47 PM CST
I've moved peonies in the spring before but if yours has been there quite a while the root mass can be pretty large. With the larger ones it's almost impossible to get them out without breaking them--no big deal if you're dividing them anyway but you almost certainly won't get blooms this spring if they come out in pieces. If you absolutely have to move them they will most likely survive, though--in my experience it's no harder to transplant in spring as it is in fall, just typically have to wait an entire year for blooms. I did actually get a single bloom last spring from a bareroot from Gilbert Wilde that I planted last April so even blooms aren't impossible same spring as transplanting.
Liz

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