Peonies forum→Rotted peony roots

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Name: Kokot
Canada (Zone 4a)
kokot
May 2, 2020 5:48 PM CST
I planted a bare root Etched Salmon late last fall that I ordered online. All of my other peonies have already come up but that one so I got really worried and dug it up. I discovered rot on few of the roots. Is there anything that I can do to save this peony? It was the one I really wanted and I payed quite a bit for it. I'm really upset about this whole situation.
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[Last edited by kokot - May 2, 2020 6:18 PM (+)]
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Connecticut (Zone 6b)
krazyquilter
May 2, 2020 8:00 PM CST
Did you buy them all from the same grower? Did you place this root in a more soggy area of garden, therefore prone to root rot? Maybe someone who has had a similar situation can tell you if they have been able to save..
Name: Kokot
Canada (Zone 4a)
kokot
May 2, 2020 9:28 PM CST
This is the only peony I bought from this grower. We did have more rain last year than I can ever remember but all the other peonies made it through. I also have tall bearded Irises growing in that area and they are just fine.
Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3a)
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anyagoro
May 2, 2020 10:51 PM CST
Some peonies are more prone to rot than others. I had Etched Salmon rotten together with some other roots at one unfortunate situation but other peonies survived.
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan (Zone 5b)

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
May 3, 2020 5:10 AM CST
I have had rotted peony roots that I have removed the rotted sections and they survived. If that is your case, I would carve it up and pot it so you can keep an eye on it. Then, if it lives, plant it in the fall.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
May 3, 2020 6:16 AM CST

Moderator

I agree with Frank. Make sure that the potting soil is very well drained. You might want to add some small gravel and perlite to the soil to make sure it has good drainage. Don't over water and keep in a shady place until you see growth.

Most growers will not replace a root if it rots as they have no control over how/ when their customers plant the roots.

Good luck!
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
Name: Kokot
Canada (Zone 4a)
kokot
May 3, 2020 6:47 AM CST
Thank you Frank and LG. I will pot it up and hopefully it makes it. Sighing!
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
May 3, 2020 10:05 AM CST
Some hybrid peonies are more susceptible to rot than others. Your crown of your ES is showing a viable eye and this is good. If you are not a pot person like me (I killed more potted plants than I can remember), you can cut off the rotted parts, dust it with rooting hormone, and plant it in a well drained hole with this mix: 40%native soil, 30% compost, 30% sand. Plant the root at the surface of the ground or the eye at ground level. Then mound it with the mix. There will be a small mound of soil which may look weird but over time it will compact and sink. What you want to prevent is for the root to sink too far down. This coming winter, make sure you mulch it well so that it will not go through thaw and freeze cycles before growth. Good luck!
[Last edited by kousa - May 3, 2020 10:11 AM (+)]
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Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3a)
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anyagoro
May 3, 2020 1:38 PM CST
Once Nate Bremer (Solaris) had flooded fields and many peonies rotted. When I asked him about my situation with rotten roots he did not recommend to pot the roots because the fungus is always in the soil and peonies in pots get it easily. I saved what he replied: Bleach mixed with water (1 part bleach to 10 parts water): To disinfect the roots are dug, divided and all roots are removed leaving the crown. Crowns are power washed and then submerged in bleach solution for 45 minutes and then washed again and dried. After all this the crowns have no stems and look almost white. The bleach kills nearly every disease organism. After all of that they get planted in a clean field. All the roots get removed. Sounds odd but the plants quickly regrow new young roots that have no disease. Old storage roots often harbor disease and are of little to no help. Plants do not look good the first year, but by the second year are vigorous growers.

You might not need to remove all roots but cut them generously so nothing even close to start rotting is remained. Good luck!
Name: Kokot
Canada (Zone 4a)
kokot
May 3, 2020 11:19 PM CST
Thank you all for your suggestions. I appreciate it very much. Thank You!
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
May 4, 2020 4:12 AM CST

Moderator

Thanks for posting this remedy, Anya. I hope I don't ever need it. 🤞🏻
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3a)
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anyagoro
May 4, 2020 12:37 PM CST
I hope I also don't need it Crossing Fingers!
Name: Virginia Taylor

moe_farms_sd
Sep 23, 2020 4:57 AM CST
I am dealing with roots from my mom's bushes and noticed sections of the plant with part of the roots looking like they are 1/2 there and other plants where the middle of the root is black and powdery. I was thinking back over close to 50 years ago. I was remembering bleaching them as we planted them. Is there a good way to store the roots since the renter doesn't want to mess with them. I only have two cattle minural tubs to put them in she had like 8 different plants most double. White, pink and red or the pink was a cross between the red and white since those plants where in the middle
Confused
Name: Virginia Taylor

moe_farms_sd
Sep 23, 2020 6:42 AM CST
These are the roots I am dealing with how to save? Best treatment and storage of? We had a wet year all last year and spring this year. Zone 4 South Dakota Crossing Fingers!
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Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Sep 23, 2020 7:18 AM CST
THe above pictures look like very old roots dying off (the hollow misshapen parts). I don't think you need to worry about rot there as long as the roots are hard. Since you are transplanting, it is best to trim off these old dying roots so that the new, young, healthy roots can have room to grow out. I don't think you really need to bleach them as the other roots look normal and healthy.
Name: Virginia Taylor

moe_farms_sd
Sep 25, 2020 5:50 AM CST
kousa,
Thank You I know it has been close to 45 - 50 years (early 70's) since Mom and I first planted them. She had divided them a number of times over t he years. I am not sure how long since the last "thinning". I don't feel so bad about dividing them now. I will see about cutting the thin parts out before sharing them. I had wondered if last years flooding had harmed them. Thank You!

Diddlydee
Jun 16, 2021 7:49 AM CST
Hello all.

I have a rotted peony question. I dug up a beautiful salmon peony from my parents garden after my Dad passed away. So it has sentimental value. I planted it in my garden in the fall of 2019, put mulch over it for the winter and it came back beautifully in the summer of 2020. I was not as careful in the fall of 2020 and it had very little growth this spring after an extremely cold winter here in Alberta, Canada. I ended up digging it up and discovering the middle section of it had rotted. (one photo shows the bit of growth and the other shows the colour of the roots) I cut off the dead stuff and put the two remaining healthier sections of the plant in the biggest pots I could find. One root fits nicely and the other bumps right against the sides of the pot. I put it in some soil with small gravel rocks and put some miracle grow in the soil. I will now wait patiently to see if the healthy roots will take hold. I did this about two weeks ago. Is there anything else I should or should've done? I know someone in this forum said not to put them in the sun however it has been quite cool here so I did move them into the sun yesterday. Any thoughts on how to save these precious babies? Thank you.
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Diddlydee
Jun 16, 2021 8:04 AM CST
Hi there. I am new to this forum and just posted a question on the thread about rotted peony roots. But I'm wondering if now I should start over; take the root out of the pot; soak in the bleach solution then replant? My issue was I replanted from my parents garden in fall 2019. The plant was beautiful the summer of 2020 but very little growth this year after a very cold winter. I dug it up and found some of the root had rotted. I cut off the rotted part and now have two sections. I rinsed it off and put it in dirt with small gravel for drainage. I didn't cut off any roots or put any rooting hormone on. I put both sections in pots.

I believe there is lots of life still left. But now I wonder if I should take them out of the pot and bleach them. Thoughts?


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Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3a)
Cat Lover
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anyagoro
Jun 16, 2021 10:43 AM CST
Hi Diddlydee! Welcome! to the Forum! I doubt the cold winter is the reason of the rot. Here in Alaska winters are colder and longer but peonies are doing fine. Usually it is a poor drainage that causes rotting. Planting a problematic peony in a pot is not a good idea, at least to my knowledge. Treating with bleach should help though I don't know if now it is a good time for that. I would try anyway. I am sure you can save these 2 sections of the peony. I would plant them in a good place with the best drainage, roots will not grow until the fall but you will probably save the roots. Good luck!
Name: Gary Ray
North Carolina (Zone 7b)
graycrna4u
Jun 16, 2021 2:22 PM CST
Trim off what ever is dead and mushy, dip in a 1 part bleach/10 parts water solution, and let dry. Replant in the soil in a well drained place and they should be fine. Cut off any part of the root that seems questionable.

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