Did I cut back too early????

primgal36October 10, 2007

I'm worried I cut back some of my peonies too early. I just found more information that you should wait until your first hard frost. I didn't even know you should cut them back at all. Will this hurt them in any way? I love peonies, but there's so much conflicting info on how to care for them. I'd appreciate any feedback. Do any of you add fertilizer when you plant new ones in the fall? I read you should, but can someone elaborate? I often have to buy them bare root, because I can't afford to always get already established ones. These are 3 years old, and this was the first year they bloomed.

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suel41452

I'm no peony expert, and I've heard to wait until the first hard frost, too - but I don't think it would HARM the plant any if you cut back a couple of weeks or so before the hard frost.
The idea is to keep the green leaves on the plant as long as possible because thru them the plant gets nutrition to the root to store up energy to produce blooms.
So cutting back foliage a few weeks earlier would theoretically reduce that energy storage a wee bit. I don't know if anyone's studied that to see if a few weeks actually makes any discernable difference. Maybe lose 1 bloom out of 20?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 11:58AM
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suel41452

I forgot about your fertilizer question. Planting peonies in the fall is the very best way to plant them. The instructions that came with my roots from Adelman Gardens were to dig a hole 2 feet deep and 3 feet wide. That's a pain, but worth it because peonies put out a MASSIVE root system. They said to put a 2 inch layer of aged compost & manure at the bottom of the hole, and mix in 1-2 handfuls of bonemeal with the dirt. They said NOT to use Miracle-Gro (granules or liquid) because it can burn the roots.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 12:13PM
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primgal36

Thank you for your help. I ordered some raspberry sundae peonies from John Scheepers, and they recommended some type of peony fertilizer, so I ordered that, they arrived today actually, so I'm glad to get them in the ground. I didn't know you had to plant the hole so big. Mine are just bare- root ones. Thank you.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 10:22PM
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suel41452

Making a hole that big is not at all mandatory, and if you have nice fertile soil it's not necessary. My soil happens to be FILLED with many VERY large rocks and brick-red hard clay that weeds won't even grow in, so I have to dig out the rocks (so many 'boulders' that I feel like I'm shifting tectonic plates!!!!). Then I have to add a lot of topsoil & compost to make the peony happy!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2007 at 10:43AM
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primgal36

I got my peonies, the fertilizer stated NOT to use it if you have compost or manure, since it could burn the roots. Needless to say, I didn't use that.
I also got an added bonus, instead of shipping me just 3, they actually had 4 of them in the bag, so I was thrilled.
So much to learn, but it sure is fun.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 9:24AM
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suel41452

I got Raspberry Sundae bareroots this fall, too - They sure are pretty. Hope yours do well!!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 4:55PM
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