Peonies forum: Mulching new peony bed for winter?

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Northeast (Zone 6a)
Rainman
Oct 7, 2012 12:35 PM CST
I have just planted a new peony bed and am wondering about using a wheat straw mulch for the new rooted bed for the winter, here in NY state. Any help would be greatly appreciated? Whether to or not and should it be removed in the spring before the new growth starts or left for mulch for the summer months?....Thanks in advance, Bob in the Northeast...

Alana
Oct 7, 2012 4:01 PM CST
I do mulch new planted peonies but with tree leaves for the first winter. Have many animals that will dig them up and then drop, never to be found again. When you start seeing buds peaking out of the ground depending on weather push the mulch back from the buds about 4 -6 inches. If you have a lot of moisture in your area leaving the mulch next to the buds can cause rot and fungus to develop. Wheat straw is fine to use but because of the various weather related issues it may be hard to find and expensive.

Most of my leaves are oak mixed with the neighbors soft maple.
AH
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
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Oldgardenrose
Oct 7, 2012 5:26 PM CST
Another issue with wheat straw is it contains a lot of wheat which will look like a wheat field next year. Preen may help to keep it from germinating.
Name: Diann
Iowa (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Enjoys or suffers cold winters Cat Lover Region: Iowa Hostas
Lilies Peonies
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Ticker
Oct 9, 2012 11:21 AM CST

Moderator

Any germination of the wheat or oat straw is easily pulled or hoed out....
Name: Julia
Upstate NY (Zone 6a)
Clematis Daylilies Irises Region: New York Hummingbirder Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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JuliaNY
Oct 12, 2012 11:23 AM CST
I thought the practice was to not mulch peonies. Confused
Julia
Upstate NY
Zone 6

Alana
Oct 12, 2012 1:03 PM CST
The practice is not to mulch peonies since most over do it and place mulch next to and over the buds. From practice in my area I place mulch on newly planted peonies to prevent heaving before the roots are established in the surounding dirt, animals from digging up plants, so you know where you planted it, especially important if you are filling in an area, and starting to be most important this year is to conserve moisture year around. If you noticed I mentioned removing the mulch from the bud area. In established plants to conserve moisture the mulch should not touch the peony stems and be at least 6 inches away from them.

Mulch in a rainy season if next to the plant crown area can cause rot and promote fungi. Not having any significant rain can kill as can the fungi. I do not think watering and wasting the water by runoff is better than using mulch and conserving what moisture is available.
AH
Name: Julia
Upstate NY (Zone 6a)
Clematis Daylilies Irises Region: New York Hummingbirder Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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JuliaNY
Oct 12, 2012 1:13 PM CST
I just planted 2 bare roots yesterday but did not mulch. Temps have taken a nose dive and we will be under a freeze warning tonight. The eyes are planted 1 1/2 inches under the soil, I've marked the spot with markers so I, and anyone else, don't attempt to step in the area. Should I then just check to be sure they have moisture or leave them alone?

Last time I purchased a peony it was in a pot so this time around it is different since there is no established root system at this time. Thanks for any suggestions.
Julia
Upstate NY
Zone 6
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
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Oldgardenrose
Oct 12, 2012 3:59 PM CST
The purpose of mulch for new plants is to keep the soil frozen, not to keep it warm. Several peony experts recommend mulching after the ground has frozen the first year to prevent frost heaving or raising the plant roots to the top of the soil. In all cases, it should be removed off the eyes after the permanent thaw as AH suggests. With our record dry summer I mulched a group of first year peonies due to their wilting every day even after watering. Mulching cured the problem. You can see the mulch was kept away from the crowns but was close enough to help hold moisture.

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