Peonies forum: Tree Peon turning into normal Peony

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Minnesota (Zone 3b)
May 18, 2017 2:15 PM CST
My large tree Peony took a big hit two years ago and now is one half regular Peony and the tree half is far from grand like it once was.

What is the best thing to do to save the tree part?
Or just let it go?
[Last edited by RpR - May 20, 2017 4:10 PM (+)]
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Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
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May 18, 2017 3:42 PM CST
You need to get rid of the herbaceous part. How long has your tree peony been in place? Did the herbaceous peony also start 2 years ago? New herbaceous growth needs to be removed from grafted tree peonies as soon as possible. Newly grafted tips survive on the grafted herbaceous roots until tree peony roots eventually start to grow, once to roots are big enough to sustain growth the herbaceous roots can be removed or should eventually wither away, if it's growing new herbaceous stems this is not going to happen. If the herbaceous growth is minimal removing it as low as you can without digging up the plant might be enough. If the growth is substantial I'd dig the whole thing up this fall and see if tree peony roots exist, if so I'd remove the herbaceous roots and replant.
Toronto, Ontario (Zone 5b)
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May 18, 2017 7:13 PM CST
RpR, if your haven't planted the tree peony deep enough, chances are that your tree peony scion does not have contact with the soil at all. It is very likely that the scion couldn't develop its own roots, while the rootstock "normal" peony is pushing her buds. Could you post the picture? Particularly, if you can show us the tree peony part at the soil level.

The tree peonies that you can buy in stores, such as Costco and Wallmart are all grafted on herbaceous peony rootstock. They usually don't tell people how to plant such a peony. If you planted it at the same level as it was in the pot, it is very likely that the scion of the tree peony is not in the ground at all and it cannot develop its own roots.
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."~Albert Einstein
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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May 21, 2017 8:13 AM CST


Always plant a tree peony deeper than soil depth at purchase. Unlike herbaceous peonies, the deeper these are planted, the happier they are.

Nearly all tree peonies are grafted onto herbaceous rootstock. Cut back the herbaceous plant and add soil around your plant.

Minnesota (Zone 3b)
May 23, 2017 8:34 AM CST
I will try to get a picture when I get back down there, I know how to put pics on the net but I loath digital cameras.

I tried that and the herbaceous is just getting bigger.
Tree peonies are supposed to be winter tough but the year, one of the few fairly normal winters up here in a while, I did not put bale protection around that one, the sub-zero really got to it.

It is ten years old, plus or minus, and was over four feet high before things went bad.
This is the first year it really has shown serious problems but the herbaceous has been around for four years but used to be just one or two branches. Now it is half the plant.
Odd things is nearly all the new peonies I have, approx. 8 or so were planted or transplanted the same year.
Most are doing well but the ones in the best soil , herbaceous, will have to be dug up this fall as they are getting smaller to just standing still.
Ones by my veggies garden, which are in reality now deeper than ten years ago, are getting to the point they really should be dug up or at least reduced in size.

As I said at a thread some where in this forum, this yard was once, seventy or more years ago, full of peonies. Twice, at least what I have now and I now have well over a dozen . Mom and Dad cut them down to seven plants.
Old ones that I did not know ever existed are popping out of the ground, especially by what are wild bush roses.
The roses and the peonies are competing for who can wipe out the Lilies of the Valley.
The weird thing is the rose, lily patch had zero peonies 17 years ago and the lilies were just a pathetic little patch one-eigth the size they were when I was a little boy.
I did some major work to revive the lilies , well suddenly peonies popped out of the ground, something really made the roses take a hit, and I moved some very old fancy peonies to the perimeter, where they had been no one could really see them, and planted a few more around the perimeter.
Oh yes, a Bridal Veil, that had been there since before I was born, was reduced to a sickly few branches.
Well now, all there is doing well, some too well, including the Bridal Veil which for the first time in approx. ten years resembles what it was named for.
What I cannot figure out is why peonies I moved there are just kind of in limbo and ones that were not there when I moved them are becoming a weed, and they are only a few feet from each other.

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