Peonies forum: soaking bare roots before planting

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Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Nov 7, 2016 1:42 PM CST
Hi all,

Is it a good idea to soak bare roots before planting them? We're having frosts here at night and I don't want to do anything to harm my new, bare-root baby!
AKA Joey.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Nov 7, 2016 4:30 PM CST
I have always done this to bareroots even peonies before planting. I can't see any harm in rehydrating the plant's roots. Tuberous roots such as daylilies, iris, peonies, I would soak for 2 -4 hours. Others such as trees and perennials, I would soak overnight.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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LizinElizabeth
Nov 7, 2016 9:56 PM CST
I soak any that appear to be a bit dry. I'm afraid to soak them too much here because our freezes come on so fast--it'll be in the 50s and 60s for weeks then drop down to single digits and winter is on!!! It seems here that leaving them a bit drier is better as long as they look fresh to begin with. I do soak daylilies as those seem to dry out so fast in the mail.
LizB
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Nov 7, 2016 10:04 PM CST
LizinElizabeth said:I soak any that appear to be a bit dry. I'm afraid to soak them too much here because our freezes come on so fast--it'll be in the 50s and 60s for weeks then drop down to single digits and winter is on!!! It seems here that leaving them a bit drier is better as long as they look fresh to begin with. I do soak daylilies as those seem to dry out so fast in the mail.

Actually, Cody explained to me that it's better to soak the roots because when water (or moisture in the roots) freezes, it stays at a constant temperature of 32 degrees. However, air can drop way below that! He explained that peach growers always soak the roots of their trees when they hear that a freeze is coming on for this very reason.

Pretty cool, right?

So I did soak mine and then planted them. Hopefully, it's for the best and they'll do well.
AKA Joey.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Nov 8, 2016 9:24 AM CST
I was curious about your statement on ice. Being in Alaska it seemed that ice can get pretty cold. I found this but don't know if this guy (despite his job) really knows correctly.

The question that you ask -- what is the temperature of ice? -- comes up frequently. The temperature of ice varies just like the temperature of any other solid substance--within the physical limitations of its solid state. Just as the temperature of water varies between 32 (degrees) and 212 (degrees) (its freezing and boiling points), the temperature of ice ranges from 32 (degrees) downward. An ice cube sitting in a freezer with an air temperature of -20 (degrees) will also chill down to -20 (degrees).

Tom Skilling is chief meteorologist at WGN-TV.

The following url answers the question by scientists, including the one who invented the graviton. Pretty heavy duty knowledge base. They concur adding that the ice will stay at 32F until it is frozen solid, then it will take on the temp of the surrounding environment. They were consistent in this.

Don't mean to be a contrarian but it just didn't sound right. I know that our native people up north do build igloos, though only when hunting, but it is only to keep what little warmth can be generated by a small fire and human body mass in a confined area. Not that the ice keeps out the less than 32F. If it is -60 outside, then the ice is -60 once totally frozen.

https://www.quora.com/Why-is-p...
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Nov 8, 2016 10:15 AM CST
Thanks for the lesson, Mary Stella.
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Nov 8, 2016 11:21 AM CST
Oberon46 said:I was curious about your statement on ice. Being in Alaska it seemed that ice can get pretty cold. I found this but don't know if this guy (despite his job) really knows correctly.

The question that you ask -- what is the temperature of ice? -- comes up frequently. The temperature of ice varies just like the temperature of any other solid substance--within the physical limitations of its solid state. Just as the temperature of water varies between 32 (degrees) and 212 (degrees) (its freezing and boiling points), the temperature of ice ranges from 32 (degrees) downward. An ice cube sitting in a freezer with an air temperature of -20 (degrees) will also chill down to -20 (degrees).

Tom Skilling is chief meteorologist at WGN-TV.

The following url answers the question by scientists, including the one who invented the graviton. Pretty heavy duty knowledge base. They concur adding that the ice will stay at 32F until it is frozen solid, then it will take on the temp of the surrounding environment. They were consistent in this.

Don't mean to be a contrarian but it just didn't sound right. I know that our native people up north do build igloos, though only when hunting, but it is only to keep what little warmth can be generated by a small fire and human body mass in a confined area. Not that the ice keeps out the less than 32F. If it is -60 outside, then the ice is -60 once totally frozen.

https://www.quora.com/Why-is-p...


Interesting. Maybe Coby is speaking to the confined area of his work? At any rate, I trust what he says about peonies and how to handle them and hopefully, will have something nice to show for it come spring.
AKA Joey.
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
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Oldgardenrose
Nov 8, 2016 4:17 PM CST
Just to meddle in the discussion a bit, both sides are probably correct. It is not the air temp that counts but it is the soil temp. There is a frost line that determines the temp of the soil. I once lived in Watseka, IL when winter temps hit -15 to -20 F and the frost line could be 3 feet deep. Sometimes we were told to keep a faucet turned to a trickle to prevent the water mains from freezing. Here in Salem, -10 is very cold and then only for a short period of time. Below 12 inches, the soil was usually +50 or so most of the time. Then there is permafrost which never thaws except for a shallow layer on top. I have read where it is safe to plant peonies until the ground freezes too deeply to dig the hole. Dryness is probably more harmful than cold.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Nov 9, 2016 9:55 AM CST
I have had to dig when the top few inches were frozen but the peonies arrived very late. Both peonies did very well. And yes, in Fairbanks the water and sewer lines in town are put on a regular tiny flow never actually stopping to prevent freeze ups. Happened to my MIL anyway as she was at the end of one line. Had sewage fill (well a few inches) in her crawlspace. Horrible. She had to move to another place until it could be cleaned out. Everything smelled. And dead of winter.

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