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May 23, 2017 6:03 AM CST
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Bee Lover Ponds Peonies Irises Garden Art Dog Lover
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Canadian Butterflies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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.
Touch_of_sky on the LA
Canada Zone 5a
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May 23, 2017 7:32 AM CST
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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.
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May 23, 2017 1:24 PM CST
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Bee Lover Ponds Peonies Irises Garden Art Dog Lover
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Canadian Butterflies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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!
Touch_of_sky on the LA
Canada Zone 5a
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May 25, 2017 7:39 AM CST
Moderator
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Butterflies Garden Photography Hostas Hummingbirder Peonies Region: Tennessee
Forum moderator
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.
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May 25, 2017 8:08 AM CST
Moderator
Name: Tracey
Midwest (Zone 5a)
Garden Photography Tomato Heads Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Pollen collector Forum moderator Hybridizer
Plant Database Moderator Cat Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Seed Starter
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
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May 25, 2017 8:11 AM CST
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Bee Lover Ponds Peonies Irises Garden Art Dog Lover
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Canadian Butterflies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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!
Touch_of_sky on the LA
Canada Zone 5a
Last edited by touchofsky May 25, 2017 8:12 AM Icon for preview
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May 25, 2017 8:14 AM CST
Moderator
Name: Tracey
Midwest (Zone 5a)
Garden Photography Tomato Heads Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Pollen collector Forum moderator Hybridizer
Plant Database Moderator Cat Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Seed Starter
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.
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May 25, 2017 8:20 AM CST
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Bee Lover Ponds Peonies Irises Garden Art Dog Lover
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Canadian Butterflies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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.
Touch_of_sky on the LA
Canada Zone 5a
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May 25, 2017 8:22 AM CST
Moderator
Name: Tracey
Midwest (Zone 5a)
Garden Photography Tomato Heads Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Pollen collector Forum moderator Hybridizer
Plant Database Moderator Cat Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Seed Starter
Have you tried Azomite? Perhaps trace nutrients are depleted?
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May 25, 2017 8:23 AM CST
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Bee Lover Ponds Peonies Irises Garden Art Dog Lover
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Canadian Butterflies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters
I have not. I will have to look to see where that would be available here.
Touch_of_sky on the LA
Canada Zone 5a
Avatar for gailstok
May 23, 2021 9:36 AM CST
Rochester, Vermont
Hello Peony forum! I have 3 gorgeous peony plants in a south facing full sun bed close to my house foundation. These plants have been blooming magnificently for 20 years. This year we need to add some drainage around our foundation which will be quite disruptive. I will need to move the peonies in mid -July unfortunately. I have no choice. They should all be finished blooming by then. Since I have never divided the peonies I will do that too when I dig them up. I would like to replant the peonies in the same bed once the construction is finished, and I will create a new bed nearby for the splits. This should only be a three day project. My questions are:
Where and how should I store the peonies for 3 days once I remove them from the bed?
What steps should I take to keep them healthy before and after replanting?
What can I do to the new bed to assure the peonies will be healthy there?
Thank you so much for sharing your experience and expertise!
gailstok
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May 23, 2021 11:28 AM CST
Name: SoCal
Orange County (Zone 10a)
Lazy Gardener or Melonator
What kind of peonies? Herbaceous?
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May 23, 2021 12:32 PM CST
Moderator
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Annuals Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Lilies Irises
Hummingbirder Dragonflies Dog Lover Daylilies Bee Lover Birds
Gail, assuming they're herbaceous you can cut them back, dig them up and store them in a cool, shady spot. In the ground that long they'll probably come up in pieces so the dividing will be easier....the roots get less brittle once they've been out of the ground for a day or so, will make getting any further dividing easier as well. Leaving them out for a few days will do no harm at all.

Valerie, there are some older lactifloras that will die back after being in the ground for an extended period, even with the best of care. Those tend to die out from the middle, stems get thinner and less blooms. Those actually have a root that turns woody from the middle out, when dug the middle looks pretty much dead with eyes and new storage roots growing around the outside of the root. For those it's best to remove that woody part and toss it, just divide the healthier growth around the outside into multiples and replant those. You can replant in the same spot, no issues unless there has been disease or infestation there, but I'd refresh the soil with compost and probably fertilize.
Avatar for Sandsock
May 26, 2021 9:21 PM CST
Name: aka Annie
WA-rural 8a to (Zone 7b)
A fabulous peony grower in Oregon, Adelman's says that you need to cut off some of the peony's roots when you move it (or dig a replant) otherwise it will sulk and not doing anything for several years...so even if you aren't dividing it, cut off some outer roots.
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Jun 12, 2021 3:42 AM CST

Thanks fr the advice, I will try in august.
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Jun 12, 2021 9:03 AM CST
Name: Jasmin
Toronto, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Peonies Roses Clematis Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Bee Lover
Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Canadian Permaculture Garden Ideas: Level 2
@touchofsky, I've just noticed your question. This is what I would do.
If possible, prepare that new bed in advance. That is, the moment you dig up your old peonies, plant some of the divisions into the new bed. I said divisions because it is unlikely that you would be able to dig up all roots at once. They will probably break into several divisions. Those that are left; that is, those that are supposed to go to the old bed, can be kept in shade for a couple of days. Nothing will happen to them for a couple of days, especially if you water them. Good luck Smiling
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."~Albert Einstein
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Jun 12, 2021 11:23 AM CST
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Bee Lover Ponds Peonies Irises Garden Art Dog Lover
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Canadian Butterflies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters
This is an older thread, and I did wait until August to move the peonies in question. I did divide them when I moved them and they have done beautifully after their move. I have a few more that I will divide and move this autumn.
Touch_of_sky on the LA
Canada Zone 5a
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Jun 12, 2021 11:57 AM CST
Name: Jasmin
Toronto, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Peonies Roses Clematis Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Bee Lover
Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Canadian Permaculture Garden Ideas: Level 2
touchofsky said:This is an older thread, and I did wait until August to move the peonies in question. I did divide them when I moved them and they have done beautifully after their move. I have a few more that I will divide and move this autumn.


My apologies, I was writing to @gailstok, who asked about something similar in May, this year.
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."~Albert Einstein
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