Tree peonies with non-tree peony stems?

jazmynsmom(Z5 Madison-ish)May 29, 2009

I have had three tree peonies do well for me for about five years. They always bloom a couple weeks before my regular peonies. This year I notice some non-tree peony stems coming up from the base of my tree peonies. The foliage and buds on these errant stems seem to be similar to my other peonies. My tree peonies bloomed last week, and my regular peonies (located elsewhere in the yard) and these errant stems appear to be ready to bloom next week.

I have several questions:

Are tree peonies grown on different root stock (like roses tend to be, for those of us in northern climates)?

Should I cut the non-tree peony stems or just enjoy them?

Will they suck the vigor out of my tree peonies?

How did they get there?

Your wisdom is appreciated. Thanks!

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Most tree peonies are grafts. What you are seeing is the nurse root sending up foliage. They will remove food from your tree peony. If they have buds I would allow one or more to bloom to see what the flower looks like.

Couple of questions to ask yourself. Is the herbaceous flower something you want to keep? Sometimes they are quite nice. Did you plant the tp deep enough that it has developed it's own roots? You have a couple of options. Cut or pull the herbaceous stems now but you need to dig down carefully to see if you have roots coming off of the upper stem. This fall you should dig the plant checking for the tp's own roots on the upper part of the stem. If the roots are there cut the nurse root from the tp. Keeping if you like, give to someone, compost. Replant tp a little deeper so it will develop stronger roots.

If there are no roots from the tp you need replant deeply with much of the tree peony stem below ground. Do not remove nurse root because the only nutritian the plant is receiving is from the nurse root. The idea is to plant the grafted tree peony deep enough that the nurse root dies and the tp portion sends out its own roots.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 3:00PM
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Bogart(6 Ont.)

Wow - I have exactly the same situation as we speak. Thanks to you both for asking and answering my question!

Who would have guessed a tree peony, unlike most any other perennial/shrub you buy at a garden centre, appreciates being planted deeper than the pot it was growing in.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 10:07AM
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jazmynsmom(Z5 Madison-ish)

Thank you for that info! I really think this situation was brought on by a number of things including: an aggressive "dog pruning" the tree peony involuntarily received a while back (it was both eaten and partially dug up by one of my dogs); and I probably didn't plant it deep enough to begin with because in the back of my head, I remember how herbaceous peonies don't bloom well with their eyes covered.

I'm going to sit back and see how I feel about the new flowers, and will prune accordingly. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 3:41PM
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