I created the cardinal sin...now what?

flora2b(z6a bc)August 27, 2009

I bought a tree peony (suffruticosa shimadaijun) years ago and it grew to about 2 feet tall the first year......well in my stupidity I cut it back like you do the herbaceous types and now for the last 5-6 years it only puts out a few leaves....it never looks unhealthy it just doesn't grow much. I have tried moving it a few times with no change.

Was wondering if I should plant it deeper or maybe put it in a pot for awhile so it can get babied more.

Or maybe it needs to be added to the compost pile??

How do I fix this cardinal sin???


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Leave it alone. Each time you have moved it you also removed some of the roots it needs to develop so it can grow.

Late this winter give it a shot of fertilizer of say 10-10-10 or what ever equal numbers fertilizer you have on hand. By late this winter I mean January or Febuary. Then give it another shot after the regular peonies have bloomed. By shot I mean use a 1 shot shotglass as your measurement. sprinkle arround the plant but no closer that 6 inches from the stem.

If you don't have a shot glass most thrift stores have them you might need to check back a couple of times.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 8:11PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Or maybe it needs to be added to the compost pile??

If the above suggestion doesn't help it, you can always send it to me. I promise I would give it a good and happy home here in Indiana.

Good luck with it.

I was talking to a friend recently, and she had a helper helping her. The helper cut her tree peony down to the ground, just like you would a regular peony. My friend was sick.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 11:34PM
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Even if you were to cut it so short that you removed the tree peony graft completely(not likely) the herbaceous rootstock should grow into a flowering peony if given the chance. Follow the advice from maifleur and be patient. Al

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 9:44AM
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flora2b(z6a bc)

I will do as you all suggest and 'patiently' leave it alone.....

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 1:10PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I only have one tree peony; about 15 years old. Had to move it a few years ago. It sulked badly for about 2-3 years. Finally this year it is back to a normal number of blooms and growth habit.

I didnÂt know you were supposed to cut back the herbaceous kind?! I only have one of those too, dug from my MomÂs yard. She never cut them back. Nor did my grandmother who had the house before. What is the reason for cutting back?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 11:03PM
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The reason you cut the foliage off after it freezes is that if the season is the stems can act as a wick. Wicking moisture and fungus/bacteria to the root. If the winter is wet or you have fungus you might want to spray late winter/early spring before stems erupt with bordoux mixture, which is a type of copper sulfate.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 1:04AM
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Preview is my friend if I would use it. Esp since I can't spell.

The above message should read....freezes is that the current years stem and leaf trash contain fungi and the stems can act as a wick....

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 1:09AM
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