Peonies forum: Inherited Tree Peony

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allikamikaze
Sep 11, 2016 12:04 PM CST
Hi Everyone,

I recently moved back to the home I grew up in and I've been trying fix up the landscaping. I discovered a tree peony that was planted on the Western side of the house and I was hoping for advice on whether to move it.

It faces West and between the shade from the house and the shade from two oak trees 20 feet away, it gets maybe 2 hours of direct sunlight, then some hours of dappled shade. It's also quite close to the spigot for the hose.

Other than that, I don't know much about it. It was planted between 1990 and 2012... but I'd guess maybe like 2005. By the time I moved back in May, I don't remember seeing any blooms but it looks like there was at least one.

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So, should I try to move it to a better location or leave it where it is?

Also, I'm in Ohio in zone 6a.

Thank you
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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magnolialover
Sep 11, 2016 3:25 PM CST

Moderator

I'd leave it and see what it does for you next year. They do great in dappled shade/high shade in my experience. And digging them up, an old established plant can be a big job.
Tracey
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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LizinElizabeth
Sep 11, 2016 8:07 PM CST
That was my thought too, Tracey! My only concern was that I only saw 1 seed pod on that large of a plant but it could've been the single one the last owner missed when deadheading. Glad someone with more tp experience is weighing in!
Liz
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Sep 11, 2016 10:21 PM CST
The tree looks like it was planted really close to the wall. I wonder what the soil is like in that area. I found some of my peonies that show signs of partial foliage yellowing were grown in an area with a bad subsoil layer. The growing roots cannot get the proper nutrients in such compacted soil and develop chlorosis. No amount of iron is going to fix the yellowing unless the soil problem is fixed. I guess if it does not impact the bloom productiion, it should not matter. If the tree peony starts to decline, I think that is a definite sign that it needs to be moved to better location.
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
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Oldgardenrose
Sep 12, 2016 9:35 AM CST
In some instances, lime can leach away from concrete or mortar and change the pH of the nearby soil. It requires years to become a problem but it is possible. The soil would become slightly more alkaline.
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
Sep 12, 2016 1:41 PM CST

Moderator

Adding some simple bulb fertilizer around and mixed in the soil may help remedy soil inadequacies.
Tracey
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Winter Sowing Dahlias Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Sep 12, 2016 6:25 PM CST
Welcome to the group, Allikamakazi!!! You'll find a great group of friendly peony fanatics here!
Liz

NoH2O
Sep 13, 2016 11:58 AM CST
I used to live in central Ohio, zone 5b. My soil was yellow potter's clay. When it was wet, you could literally twist it into a rope and it wouldn't break. When it was dry it was as hard as cement with cracks over an inch wide and 8+ inches deep. It was moderately alkaline and would eat compost and spit out more clay. In the early 90's I bought a bare root twig of a tree peony that was no more than 10" long, root included. It was sitting on the shelf in a small box at Sears Hardware. I thought it was mighty expensive - I think I paid $7 or $8 for it. LOL Twenty years later it was 5 feet tall, over 5 feet wide and had over 120 blooms in spring. Each bloom was 8-10" in diameter.

I never gave it any fertilizer other than homemade compost. I gardened organically but never had any problems with disease or insects so that was easy. The dreaded Japanese beetles never bothered it but of course it was done blooming before they showed up. Each fall I mulched all my beds with a couple of inches of shredded leaves after the ground froze. I never gave the tree peony any additional protection. It was located in a bed at the NE corner of the house so it got sun until early afternoon. I only pruned to remove the tips of branches that died over the winter, to remove crossing branches and to shape it.

Your tree peony looks like it has some sort of nutritional deficiency, possibly a lack of iron. It is definitely too close to the house. Even though tree peonies are supposed to be difficult to transplant, I think yours is small enough to handle it and it is definitely not in a good site now. I would recommend moving it this fall. If you wait until spring it will have to contend with hot weather while still trying to get established. In fall, the soil remains warm for a long time so the roots can continue to get established even after the top has gone dormant. Choose a site where it will get morning to early afternoon sun. Make sure it is not getting the hot afternoon sun. Make sure it is not competing with tree roots and that it is getting adequate air circulation. Two hours of sun is not enough and if it is afternoon sun it will be harmful. Mostly dappled shade or shade will probably reduce your bloom count. Be sure to dig a large hole and amend the soil well with organic matter. When you dig the peony up, try to dig as large a root ball as you can. The less you disturb the roots, the better. Water it well, and make sure the soil stays moist until the winter rains take over. Do not mulch until the ground has frozen - you don't want to encourage the local rodentials to move in and snack on tender roots during the winter.

Tree peonies are absolute show stoppers when they are healthy and blooming and they are beautiful shrubs even when not in bloom.

Mine was Hana Kisoi. It was more of a shell pink than it appears in my pictures. I recently googled it and found it is considered somewhat rare and I can buy a 3 year old root for $100. Sigh. I'm pretty sure my old one wouldn't have survived the move to Western Washington.

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