Peonies forum→Digging and Moving a Peony Garden

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Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Roses Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs
Region: Georgia Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias
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Cem9165
Sep 23, 2018 1:30 PM CST
Hi everyone, I've been lurking, but not posting much. Life has been crazy with work, life happenings, and the decision to move or not to move.

We made it official yesterday, we're definitely moving. However, we'll be building a new home that won't be ready until next May, and we have to put our current home up for sale.

Luckily, my SIL has offered to let me keep my potted plants in her back garden. Today, I started digging out the Itohs. I cannot belive the size of the root balls. I don't have a pot big enough for Bartzella, or Cora Louise.

Do I trim the roots to get them to fit in a pot? Would planting the bigger roots in a white plastic white plastic bag with holes in the bottom be okay?

Any hints and suggestions for moving a peony garden would be greatly appreciated!

Annette
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"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

author unknown
Name: Anya
Fairbanks, AK (Zone 3a)
Cat Lover
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anyagoro
Sep 23, 2018 2:50 PM CST
I feel your stress, Annette! Wish you all strength and the best of luck. I would think plastic bags will work but have never done this.
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Roses Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs
Region: Georgia Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias
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Cem9165
Sep 23, 2018 3:11 PM CST
Thanks Anya!
"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

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Name: Alex
Toronto, Ontario
Region: Canadian
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AlexUnder
Sep 23, 2018 3:49 PM CST
Hi Annette, I went through this last year, but planted directly, so situation is different. I am pretty sure it is better to get rid of foliage right away and if you can not find pots big enough for the roots - cut them to the size. I am not big fan of overwintering any plants in pots as they generally do not survive for me here in Toronto. I think planting and covering in soil is better, even if you have to move them again next year. How many plants we are talking about? May be those tree soft-side bags are better if there is enough soil there. Finding a secure spot in new constructed home yard is something to consider. Then move them to the right space in a year or two.
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Sep 23, 2018 6:01 PM CST

Moderator

Good luck, Annette. I'm sorry you are giving up your beautiful home, but but I'm sure your new place will be awesome. Lucky you to be able to build a brand new home.

I don't have any experience with moving and storing peonies, but dividing to fit into pots would be the way to go. Lucky you to have a wonderful SIL. Just make sure they don't rot in the Georgia summer!

Best wishes and please keep us updated!
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.

Agapanthusco
Sep 23, 2018 7:12 PM CST
Reply to cem 9165
I am in same boat! My best planters so far for dug up tree peonies-itoh, or tree peonies, are vessels with wheels! An old 45 gallon plastic storage tub with wheels is holding a 15 year old tree peony. I transplanted it a month ago and so far so good. A child's wagon with a foot well is also working for me (10 year old itoh) I have scored some very large cardboard 3x3 feet shipping barrels- these are going on Home Depot cheap (8$) wheeled frames. I have drilled large holes in all these containers for drainage.
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[Last edited by Agapanthusco - Sep 24, 2018 10:13 PM (+)]
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Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Roses Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs
Region: Georgia Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias
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Cem9165
Sep 23, 2018 10:10 PM CST
Thank you for your suggestions Alex and Agpanthusco! Alex, I've been able to overwinter peonies in pots here and they have done well.

LG, it was a tough decision to move, we're "downsizing", but not downyarding😂, getting a smaller home but the lot is the same size. My DH knew that I had to have my space to garden, and it took looking at homes for the past 9 months, before we found one that made us both happy.

I'm thankful that some of my peonies have gone dormant, it will make it easier to dig and pot them. Our temps are trending down, so hopefully, I won't have any problems with rot.

All of the Ithohs that I dug up today had large root balls, but I was able to plant most of them in pots. Cora L. and Bartzella are in white garbage bags with soil for now.

This is not a peony, but I had the share a pic of the size of this lily bulb, I couldn't wrap my fingers around it, and it wasn't the largest one! This bulb came from a bed that I created several years ago for peonies, but then I added lilies, roses, and daylilies to it.
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Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Sep 23, 2018 10:14 PM CST
Gotta love those huge lily bulbs. Is that an Asiatic lily?
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
Peonies Hummingbirder Hostas Region: Tennessee Butterflies Garden Photography
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Mieko2
Sep 24, 2018 7:43 AM CST

Moderator

Good for you, Annette! Less housework means more time to garden! Rolling on the floor laughing

That lily bulb is amazing! Thanks for sharing!!
LG - My garden grows with love and a lot of hard work.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Dragonflies Butterflies Bulbs Birds Bee Lover
Annuals Irises Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader
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LizinElizabeth
Sep 24, 2018 12:02 PM CST

Moderator

What a job, Annette! I'll be doing the same in a few years...]

My only concern about bags is the weight of the roots and soil, as long as you can move them without tearing I'm sure they'll be fine.

Make sure you stop by and update us on your new home and garden's progress when you get a chance!
LizB
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Sep 24, 2018 3:01 PM CST
I too wish you the best in your move. You have such a beautiful garden in your old home. Will you be taking all the plants with you? Something you can consider of doing with herbaceous peonies is just getting divisions instead of bringing the whole roots to you new home. You can dig up a division, wash them clean of dirt, and then store them in peat moss in cold storage like a spare fridge. Good luck!
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Roses Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs
Region: Georgia Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias
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Cem9165
Sep 24, 2018 8:52 PM CST
Thank you all for the well wishes with the move, I can't believe that it's official.

Connie, the lily is OT Montego Bay. I found so many large lily bulbs yesterday.

LG, I'm definitely looking forward to more time in the garden. It's a blank slate, so I'm thankful that I have my plants to fill in multiple areas, and room for more.

Liz, I'll will keep you guys updated. I did some research last night, and I found some grow bags that seem to be sturdier than regular garbage bags. I got the 5 and 7 gallon bags, that should arrive tomorrow, so I'll be able to plant the larger roots. Here's what I found on amazon.

SUNSIDE 5 Gallon Grow Bags Nonwoven Plant Fabric Pots with Handles (Black) (7-Pack 5 Gallon)

Karen, I'm taking as many plants as I can. There are so many of them that I love, and I would hate to leave them behind.

"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

author unknown
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Sep 25, 2018 6:00 AM CST
FWIW, dug some peonies several years ago and put them off to the side, root ball and dirt intact. Life intervened and I had forgot about them. Following spring, neighbor asked about the peonies on the side of the house that looked like they were growing on their side! She asked if she could have them, she planted them and they are still growing. Pretty tough plants, I would think that a plastic bag would suffice.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
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
Sep 25, 2018 7:03 AM CST

Moderator

Congrats Annette. I hope everything goes according to schedule. So will you hold those peonies in bags and pots until next fall? Or plant in May after your house is complete?

Trimming the roots of newly dug peonies is something I have been advised to do from the growers. They acclimate better to their new location and are far easier to plant. One sure thing is that the established peony root system is both impressive and extensive!
Tracey
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Sep 25, 2018 7:53 AM CST
@Cem9165 Annette, if you are looking for root bags on sale, Gardenersedge has them on sale at up to 50% off with free shipping. It's a great deal! I am getting myself some.

https://www.gardenersedge.com/...

Luckily for this sale, I think I will plant my new tree peonies in these temporary bags for awhile.
[Last edited by kousa - Sep 25, 2018 8:45 AM (+)]
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Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Roses Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs
Region: Georgia Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias
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Cem9165
Sep 25, 2018 2:50 PM CST
Karen, thanks for letting me know about the sale!
"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

author unknown
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Dragonflies Butterflies Bulbs Birds Bee Lover
Annuals Irises Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader
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LizinElizabeth
Sep 26, 2018 2:34 AM CST

Moderator

Which size do you plan to get for tree peonies, Karen? Think the 5 gallon would be big enough? The size of Adelman's and Solaris' roots I don't think anything smaller would do.
I'm away from home this week but will be back Saturday, might grab some myself if there is any stock left those last couple of days!
LizB
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Sep 26, 2018 7:15 PM CST
I think 7 or 10 gal is better. I am getting two 10 gal bags for my tree peony from Klemn and Solaris. I have tried using the 5 gal but found that it was too small. I read somewhere that the Chinese grew their tree peonies in big pots in order to force them bloom earlier for the imperial palaces. If they had been successful cultivating and growing tree peonies in pots, I am sure we can do it too. I guess the trick or difficulty is making sure the tree and root are not subject to freezing during winter and adequate moisture while it's growing.
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Roses Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs
Region: Georgia Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias
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Cem9165
Sep 26, 2018 8:24 PM CST
Liz, safe travels back home on Saturday!

My grow bags arrived today, they're not as big as I thought they would be. I got the 5, 7, and 8 gallon bags. Karen, I would definitely get the larger bags.

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author unknown
Name: Craig
Fort Ann, NY (Zone 5a)
Peonies Dog Lover Hybridizer Seed Starter Region: New York
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stellablue
Sep 27, 2018 6:21 AM CST
Annette,
Those bags look great! You can certainly cut back the roots to make them fit better. I am in the process of dividing now and you can't hesitate to cut back and remove unnecessary roots.
It's a grueling process and wish you the best of luck. Thumbs up

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