Peonies forum→Results of Tree Peony Pruning

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ElPolloDiablo
Apr 27, 2021 3:09 AM CST
I have two tree peonies, a Renkaku and a much older and larger Shima Daijin.
Both have started to sag under the weight of their blooms, to the point their limbs could break (and indeed did), so this past Winter I took the drastic decision of pruning both.

I simply trimmed all branches on the Renkaku by 3", or to the closest gem. This was the result:

Thumb of 2021-04-27/ElPolloDiablo/766f8d

Thumb of 2021-04-27/ElPolloDiablo/186857

I can consider this a success, especially given flower size wasn't affected by pruning.

The Shima Daijin is a much harder case because it's just so much larger, so I took the middle road of completely cutting just some of the worst sagging branches while dormant. As with all middle roads, I wasn't exactly satisfied:

Thumb of 2021-04-27/ElPolloDiablo/3b5127

Thumb of 2021-04-27/ElPolloDiablo/6a9ae3

The front branches I didn't cut sagged once again all the way to the ground: I ought have done a much through "blade job" as there's a lot of new solid growth at the back that will bloom next year.

Another thing I deeply suspect is Shima Daijin is extremely susceptible to fertilization. I usually fertilize all my peonies with standard agri NPK fertilizer (12-12-17), but I think that excess of nitrogen is at least in part to blame for the sagging growth. So next year another experiment besides more pruning: nitrogen-free fertilizer.
The Saviour.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Apr 27, 2021 3:20 AM CST

Moderator

Well to me they look marvelous! I am sure your are happy that they made it through the bad weather, El Pollo.

Which month are you applying the fertilizer? Is it dry or are you mixing up a water soluble solution? Is it organic?


LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.

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ElPolloDiablo
Apr 27, 2021 5:19 AM CST
Mieko2 said:Well to me they look marvelous! I am sure your are happy that they made it through the bad weather, El Pollo.

Which month are you applying the fertilizer? Is it dry or are you mixing up a water soluble solution? Is it organic?




I apply standard pelletized farm NPK fertilizer (the stuff you can buy in big 50lbs bags at Tractor Supply) when the ground starts thawing, which here means late February/early March. I do it at the same time when working the ground to eliminate weeds, then a couple of weeks later everything around the base of the plant gets mulched with straw. I will probably use Thomas's slags next year: I have been shifting to a liquid PK fertilizer with excellent result for other plants but I still have half a bag of it to finish.

We had very cold weather for April year, which resulted in what I can only call an extraordinarily long bloom time: the Renkaku is losing petals now, after over three weeks in bloom. The flip side is not a single Itoh or herbaceous has bloomed yet: Copper Kettle may open this week but it's really unseasonally cold now.
The Saviour.
Name: Tracey
Midwest (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
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magnolialover
Apr 27, 2021 5:39 AM CST

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Those tree peonies look nice and healthy, loaded with flowers. ElPollo, so nice to see your season underway.
Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
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AlexUnder
Apr 27, 2021 8:27 AM CST
ElPollo, please take pictures of before and after pruning ( bare branches and leafed out ) next time you prune on your TPs! I am also thinking what is the best way to create nicely shaped TP bush. I am having new growth in the middle of the bush and thinking about slowing or re-directing growth on the higher stems so it would be more like half-sphere. Your TPs look very nice!
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Apr 27, 2021 7:56 PM CST
Wow, those TPs are stunning and loaded with blooms. Can you share how old is your Shimadajin?
Name: aka Annie
WA-rural 8a to (Zone 7b)
Sandsock
Apr 27, 2021 8:25 PM CST
Amazing!!! Looking forward to hearing more about how you did it and what you are going to do on it next year.

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ElPolloDiablo
Apr 28, 2021 12:28 AM CST
kousa said:Wow, those TPs are stunning and loaded with blooms. Can you share how old is your Shimadajin?


I bought it as a five year old plant in 2011 so it's now 15 years old.
The Saviour.
Name: Jasmin
Toronto, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Peonies Roses Clematis Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Bee Lover
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Jasmin
May 1, 2021 10:16 AM CST
Speaking of pruning TPs, @Treehugger, have you pruned your Hana Kisoi? Or, is this the natural shape? She looks like old Japanese paintings Lovey dubby Lovey dubby Lovey dubby I don't know why I think Hana Kisoi is "she".


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"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."~Albert Einstein

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