Peonies forum: Help, please - iron chlorosis on a tree peony

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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
May 5, 2012 12:00 PM CST
Sorry if this is a duplicate, but I posted my question on the Tree Peony thread and didn't get anybody answering yet.

This wonderful tree peony 'Koukamon' is in my daughter's garden in Salt Lake City. As you see in the photo, it is in trouble with iron chlorosis bigtime. We've had this problem every year since it was planted - this is its 4th year. Were able to correct it with amendments and chelated iron douse. But I am now convinced it needs to be moved.

Can I safely move it after it finishes blooming or must I wait until it's dormant in the winter? I know these plants hate to be moved but the heavy clay soil it's in makes it possible to get a good, intact root ball, and we will only be moving it about 20ft. so it will be out and in within minutes.

My issue is, I am the "Head Gardener" there. They try hard but both work and are not gardeners. I live in Florida and usually visit only a couple of times per year. I'll be there in a couple of weeks, and again at Christmas so those are my two chances.
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Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Diann
Iowa (Zone 5a)
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Ticker
May 8, 2012 10:31 AM CST

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What is her weather like at Christmas? Do you think it will die in its current spot? If you think it's going to die where it is, I'd move it when I was there in a couple weeks and hope for the best. What would you have to lose...
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
May 8, 2012 12:42 PM CST
That's the kicker, see. Other than the sickly leaf color, it is growing slowly, and (obviously) blooming. I don't think it will die this summer, especially if I treat it again with iron chelates.

December is variable - can be brutal cold with snow on the ground, or not all that cold, in Salt Lake. We lived there for 21 years before migrating to FL. I've had roses blooming in my former garden there in early December. Last winter they had it very mild and hardly any snow. I wouldn't think the ground would be too frozen to move the plant then. Just wet, and icky sticky.

Thanks, that helped me make up my mind to wait. I can prepare the new site when I visit next week, so it's ready to go when moving day comes along.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
May 8, 2012 1:49 PM CST
On a gardening talk show from Salt Lake the expert always stresses that the more expensive irons which can be found at the independent nurseries are the most effective. Even with that application real change may not be apparent til next year. I might also try some weak Miracle Grow for Azaleas and rhodies...it is acid and a good organic mulch. Tree peonies are slow growers here.. I'd try one more year before moving it. Lovely blooms. I was in a friends garden the other day and there were two right next to each other in identical conditions. One was far greener.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
[Last edited by Paul2032 - May 8, 2012 1:52 PM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
May 8, 2012 5:07 PM CST
Thanks Paul, good to know. I've top-dressed with compost every time I visited, usually spring and fall. We've got good wood chip mulch everywhere, and have also given it regular Miracle-Gro but not the acid type. Will try that.

My daughter's yard is like your friend's, in some places it's a lot more alkaline than others. I'm blaming the contractor who built her house (they bought it new) because when we started planting the garden we'd find spots all over the place where they'd dumped gravel, concrete, leftover mortar from the tile, and other trash. Plus he spread the subsoil that they dug out to make the basement all over the yard as well. About 30 pickup loads of compost from the dump later we actually had soil that would support life, at least in some spots. But then the bigger plants with deep roots would reach down through the amended soil and sometimes hit that icky subsoil. We'd know because as with your friend, one plant would be discolored, and the one next to it would be fine.

I'm assuming that's what's happened with this poor Tree Peony. It's surviving from all the tlc it's getting, but still extending its roots into whatever is below the original planting depth.
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Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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