can my peonies handle 26 degree overnight?

plke2000March 27, 2009

I am in Oklahoma City and my peonies have come up and have some closed buds. Most are established but one has only been in the ground a couple of weeks. We are expecting snow and 31 degrees tonight and 26 degrees tomorrow night. Should I cover them and can they tolerate no light for 1 1/2 days?

Any help would be welcome. Thanks!!

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Use a sheet on the ones with closed buds. They should be fine at near freezing with snow but lower than 26 sometimes causes problems. Warning the plants may look like they are dying for about a week but do not panic. Most peonies will straighten up and be fine. However since weather forcasting is more like witchcraft if it looks like the temps will dip in the lower 20's you may lose some of the flowers.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 5:33PM
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Can you report on how your peonies handled the freeze and snow. Not just now but as the season progresses to help others that may have this same difficulty now and in future years.

Our forecast is for more snow later this week. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 7:12PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

I had an experience one year where we got cold weather and snow on May 18 when the peonies were really coming up. They all seemed to make it through fine. I didn't have any issues with lost buds, etc.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 8:45PM
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So far from the cold and snow of this weekend I see damage on High Noon. The plant was sending up shoots and the leaves that had expanded the most have turned an bronze color and are limp. The only thing I covered was a peony that did not come up last year. It was part of the damage done by walking arround the driveway while it was being coated.

With luck and no more snow I will have my first bloom sometime this week. It is a species from Corsica.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 9:40PM
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Cindi McMurray

We not only had freeze here, we had 4 inches of sleet then 4 inches of snow on top of that. The wind blew at 35mph the whole time, so there was no way to cover anything. This past week, my peonies perked up a bit, but they look ragged and brownish on the edges.
I am more worried about the forecast of 24 degrees for the next 2 days since today was 75 and windy. The top few inches of soil have dried out...even with all that moisture from last weekend!
The peonies and roses are going to suffer the next few days, I think. Two years ago when we had a late freeze, we lost most of the blooms. I believe that one was on the 11th of April. We lost fruit and iris that year also.
cindi, in windy Wichita

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 11:09PM
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That was Easter weekend and the freeze stretched from about Northern Missouri to the gulf coast. HPS requested that people watch their peonies and report on any changes that were seen. Some times the plant's growing habits change. There are no records of what effect a freeze of that magatude can have on peonies. I noticed on some of mine that the following year they were shorter. Sometimes changes do not show up for several years. My Fen Dan Bai was sending out new growth every year. It has not sent out any lateral branches since then. Is the change related to the temps. Who would know unless others notice something similar in their plants and can tie the condition to a specific occurance. The occurance does not have to be weather related.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 10:21PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

My peonies are all up in various stages. I have one with fat, fat buds on it. Last week we had light freezes with snow. There was no damage. This week we had two nights of freezes, the second one, prolonged and about 26 degrees. I covered about half of my peonies. Everything came through just fine. The one with the fat buds I didn't cover. They looked limp in the morning, but last night when I came home they were looking just fine. No apparent damage.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 2:31PM
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