3 tree peony answer

James Waddick jwaddick@kc.rr.com
Tue, 03 Aug 2004 15:36:48 PDT
The recent threads on tree peonies prompt me to ask three questions:
Dear Jim McK et al;

	The topic of tree peonies is getting a bit far afield, but 
I'll answer briefly with my experience and opinion.

>First of all, does anyone have any experience in transplanting successfully
>old established suffruticosa tree peonies?

	They should be dug in fall as they go dormant. In your area 
I'd guess after Oct 1. Their own roots will be far ranging and deep. 
Use a saw or axe (you'll need them) to divide the crown (dust with 
fungicide and or rooting hormone with fungicide) and cut them back to 
healthy wood. Plant in light shade or where they will get a couple 
hours full sun. Water well. They should recover in a year or two. Try 
to do this on a cool day and be prepared for a lot of work.

>The recent tree peony threads have had a lot negative to say about
>lactiflora understock for tree peonies... I'm curious: what are the 
>experiences of others?

	There is some debate, but my opinion is to remove the 
lactiflora under stock as soon as the tree peony has made its own 
roots. The lactiflora root is a temporary nurse graft and will 
interfere with long term health of the tree peony. Removing an old 
rotting lactiflora root from an old peony is a major pain and a real 
blow to the tree peony. Get rid of it ASAP. Tree peonies always do 
better on their own roots.

>The third question concerns a twenty + year old suffruticosa tree 
>peony which hasnever bloomed. Are there other less drastic measures 
>which might bring it into bloom?

	Not all cvs are acceptable. This may be self sown seedling 
and be a poor bloomer. I have a seedling that has made a single bloom 
in ten years. I keep thinking its got to do better one of these 
years. Getting named cultivars gives you a better chance of getting a 
good blooming plant. Hybridizers tend to toss these poor bloomers, 
unless it has exceptional (infrequent) flowers and then would be 
sold/distributed as a breeder's plant.
	But then you might also check the soil pH and alter 
accordingly. Fertilize well. Thin out old wood. You might reduce it 
to no more than 3 healthy stems. Mulch might help too.

			Best	Jim W.

Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
E-fax  419-781-8594

Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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