Vole or rodent damage on grafted tree peonies

stevelau1911March 27, 2014

One huge problem that I encountered today when I removed my tarps is that a lot of the specifically grafted rockii peonies still relying on their nurse roots got their cambium layers eaten up very badly while they were being over-wintered. The tree peonies that were already on their own roots seem to be ignored, and some of them were even killed.

Here's a worst case scenario where the cambium on both the tree peony part and nurse root got destroyed. Has this ever happened to anyone else?

Here is a link that might be useful: More pictures of rodent damage, 2nd half of pictures

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Sorry to hear about the damage on your grafted tree peonies. Are these one year grafts? Do you have a problem with the newly grafted peonies? I did not know that rodents like peonies bark so much.. I do not have any rodent problem probably because the ground has been frozen since December so they could not do much digging.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 9:57AM
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They are 1-2 year old grafts. The one right in this picture may just be grafted in fall of 2012, but it appears the younger the graft, the more likely they will get attacked, and this happened after it warmed up based on the freshness of the bite marks.

I just know now that putting a tarp over them is not a very good idea.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 10:08AM
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No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)

Oh no! That's terrible! I would be so upset! Do you think they will make it anyway? I'm so sorry to see that.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 7:24PM
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The cambium layer is pretty much the life force of any kind of peony so when that's completely destroyed like the one in the picture, there's really no chance, but most of them still have cambium connection from the nurse roots to some tree peony buds.

It's not a big issue because I can simply graft more of them.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 9:16PM
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I went out to check my peonies today, and found some animal dig a hole at one of my peony tree stem. In the process, it knocked off a two inch sprout that came from under the soil. Do you think this bud eye will grow back?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 3:01PM
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Whenever there's a lack of apical dominance ie big bugs that hog up all the energy, there will be buds growing somewhere. It could happen in the form of more energy towards other buds, or it's possible that another bud will form in its place.

This picture is an example of regeneration.

It generally forms there because auxins were already going towards that site. I'm starting to see some of my tree peonies with no-bud scions generate buds right in the middle of the wood. Buds can form from any part of the cambium.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 3:55PM
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Thanks, Steve. That is reassuring to know. I am so happy to find that the tree peonies are sending up shoots below the soil which means that it is making its own roots, right?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 7:08PM
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Those ground buds form out of callus tissue formed on the tree peony part, and roots can also form from it so it means my in ground tree peonies should be well rooted especially when many of them sent ground shoots last spring too.

If you just cut them back to the ground in taking grafts, they will behave just like itoh or herbaceous peonies with the super vigorous growth from the starch reserves.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 10:54PM
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Today I saw some more damage on the newly grafted tree peonies where the mice are literally attacking the buds so I threw down some moth balls which will hopefully get them to move somewhere else.

I just hope they can hurry up to produce leaves so that they are less vulnerable to attacks.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 6:02PM
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