Peonies forum: Can you move peonies in spring?

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Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Irises Roses Peonies Butterflies Birds
Bee Lover Region: Canadian Ponds Garden Art Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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touchofsky
May 23, 2017 6:03 AM CST
I have three peonies that have been in the same location for about 15 - 20 years. The trees have gotten bigger over that period of time and they are now shaded and haven't bloomed for several years. In fact, the plants seem to be dwindling, with the stems getting smaller, thinner and shorter. Can I dig these up now and move them? If so, should I divide them into smaller pieces once I dig them up? Or, would it be better to wait till autumn? I can move them to a good location that receives full sun.

Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
May 23, 2017 7:32 AM CST
It is best that you wait until August or at the earliest late July. You can cut down any foliage and stems without hurting the peonies much then. Right now they are just coming up and actively growing, you will set them back a great deal if you move them now. Setting them back means that you may not get flowers for a few years. If the roots are big, I would divide them down. Basically, you want a proportionate amount of roots for the number of eyes on the division. Also trim off any old or rotting roots as well as roots that entangle themselves around other roots.
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Irises Roses Peonies Butterflies Birds
Bee Lover Region: Canadian Ponds Garden Art Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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touchofsky
May 23, 2017 1:24 PM CST
Thanks, Karen. I will wait till August and do it then. We did cut some trees on the property, so they may get a bit more light this summer in their present location, but not as good as the place I have ready for them!
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
May 25, 2017 7:39 AM CST
Valerie, it wouldn't be a bad idea to give them a dose of fertilizer after the blooms are finished. Make sure that they get the proper amount of water over the Summer to make them strong for the transplant.
I agree with all of Karen's advice, too.
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
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magnolialover
May 25, 2017 8:08 AM CST

Moderator

My best advice echoes what you have already heard, moving peonies in the spring is ill advised.

However, if you are moving and want to take them with you and cannot wait, it is worth the risk. Oftentimes even worse than moving them in the spring, is leaving them with new owners that will choose to destroy them. In this case, best chance of survival is moving with you Smiling
Tracey
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Irises Roses Peonies Butterflies Birds
Bee Lover Region: Canadian Ponds Garden Art Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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touchofsky
May 25, 2017 8:11 AM CST
I am not moving, so I will leave them in place for the summer and fertilize after my other peonies have bloomed. These ones will not be blooming this year. They are gradually getting smaller and spindlier, year after year. It is strange, because two that are only a few feet away, do OK, and three in question that are close by, do not do well in that location.

Thank you for all your advice. I appreciate any help I can get!
[Last edited by touchofsky - May 25, 2017 8:12 AM (+)]
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Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
May 25, 2017 8:14 AM CST

Moderator

All peonies like a well drained location. I have peonies, in what I consider a wetter portion of my yard, not soggy by any means, where some thrive and others look to struggle. I think different varieties can vary on how much moisture they can tolerate and thrive.
Tracey
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Irises Roses Peonies Butterflies Birds
Bee Lover Region: Canadian Ponds Garden Art Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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touchofsky
May 25, 2017 8:20 AM CST
My whole property is well drained, probably too much so. It is sandy and we are on a hill. I dig fairly large holes and augment the soil when I plant. These were planted at least 15 years ago, maybe 20. They have not done well for at least 5 years.

Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
May 25, 2017 8:22 AM CST

Moderator

Have you tried Azomite? Perhaps trace nutrients are depleted?
Tracey
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Irises Roses Peonies Butterflies Birds
Bee Lover Region: Canadian Ponds Garden Art Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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touchofsky
May 25, 2017 8:23 AM CST
I have not. I will have to look to see where that would be available here.

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