tree peony - help!

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by regis54, Apr 27, 2008.

  1. regis54

    regis54 Member

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    Hi

    I was out raking this morning, stepped backwards and "snap" -- broke the stem off my tree peony, which was just beginning to come out of dormancy after a dreadful winter. I've only had the peony for a couple of years -- it's about 1.5 ft tall (or was). I have plunked the stalk in a jar of water, but I suspect I'm out of luck for saving it. Am I? And what do I do with the roots, which remain in the ground? The base where it snapped off is about 1.25 inches in diameter. Suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciated.

    thanks
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It'll sprout from the broken stem, and from the roots too (hope it is on its own roots and not grafted!)

    Try treating the broken stem as a large cutting; bury it for 3/4 of its length in the soil and keep the foliage moist to reduce stress.
     
  3. regis54

    regis54 Member

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    Thanks, Michael. I'll try that.

    regis54
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Likely to be grafted. New growth unlikely to remain turgid.
     
  5. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    If the peony was planted with the graft >1.5" below ground, there is a good chance that the graft has formed its own roots. This is the prefered planting method and will result in a more vigourous plant. It also means that any resprout will be tree peony and not herbaceous peony.

    Unfortunately, tree peonies are often sold with the graft at or just above soil level and no planting instructions so they are planted the same way they arrived in the pot.
     
  6. regis54

    regis54 Member

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    I purchased my tree peony from a reputable dealer (Vesey's, in PEI) and it came with planting instructions. The section that snapped off, and the rooted part, are fairly thick, for a plant that's not very big, so I'm hoping the graft has formed its own roots. It was pretty healthy until I stepped on it. All I can do at this point is keep my fingers crossed. It snapped off right at ground level. Should I cover what I can see of the woody trunk?

    thanks
    regis
     
  7. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    No comment on Vesey's......

    The 1-1/4" thick section that snapped off sounds like the exposed herbaceous peony root stock because:
    - 1-1/4" thick is pretty big for a 1-1/2" tall plant
    - the woody stem of the tree peony shouldn't be that brittle, especially if it's that thick
    - even big fat herbaceous peony roots are very brittle.

    Don't bother covering up the remaining plant....just leave it to callus up & see what happens. Either the herbaceous rootstock or a remanent of the tree peony will come up (or both?)
     
  8. regis54

    regis54 Member

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    I did think it a little odd that it would be that brittle. It does look more like a tree branch than a peony root, but I am not an expert in identifying either. Oh well. I'll just have to wait to see what comes up.
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Young grafted tree peonies consist of a little brittle stick stuck into a cut made in the top of a thick rubbery herbaceous peony crown. The contrast in growth types between the two is quite marked and interesting for two plants belonging to the same genus. As with the grafting of many other kinds of popular ornamental plants this method is undertaken for its suitability to the production and selling of an affordable specimen rather than for the quality of the specimen that results. Expect the herbaceous tree peony to throw up stems of its own, making it even easier to tell where one starts and the other ends.
     
  10. regis54

    regis54 Member

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    Thank-you, Ron, for the explanation.
    The part that broke off appears to be adjusting to life in a pot of soil. The leaves are starting to unfurl. Maybe it will root for me! And I'll keep an eye on the rooted portion still in the ground outside.
     
  11. levilyla

    levilyla Active Member

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    This is probably a dumb question...are you saying that there are tree peonies that are not grafted? In other words the ones that are grafted are less expensive and will be the ones to throw up stems from the herbaceous one? I am confused.
     
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yes, they can also be grown from seed, but the resulting plants won't be a named cultivar.
     
  13. levilyla

    levilyla Active Member

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    Thank you.
     
  14. johnnyjumpup

    johnnyjumpup Active Member

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    Hi,

    About planting tree peonies. Several years ago I ordered two expensive tree peonies. When they arrived they had sprouted and the tops were growing in the same direction as the roots, i.e. in a u shape. To plant it normally, I would have buried the tops. I ended up planting them on their sides, with the roots in the soil and the top more or less above ground. They did survive and have even bloomed. Both look exactly the same, lavender pinky blue with deeper flashes of colour, not like the photos. (I bought Floating Cloud and Nishiki Tapestry). The red one and the white one I bought elsewhere also bloomed this same colour. I don't mind but it has shaken my faith in what I might expect to get colourwise.

    Just this year I discovered that tree peonies should be planted with the graft 4-5 inches below soil level. Question, can I dig them up and bury the graft deeper after they have bloomed? Is it better to wait until fall? They both have a horizontal stem but also a couple of upright ones as well. I have read that they hate to be moved so have hesitated to do so.

    Has anyone had any experience moving tree peonies? Would they be a better plant if planted deeper?

    Thanks for any input.
     
  15. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Fall, September, would be the best time to move them, the roots grow then with the cooler temperatures.
     
  16. johnnyjumpup

    johnnyjumpup Active Member

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    Thanks, Chimera.

    I will tx in September.
     
  17. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    The graft is buried deeper to encourage the tree peony part to develop it's own roots, as usually an herbaceous nurse root is used to graft the tree peony onto. Some growers recommend cutting the herbaceous nurse root off in 3-5 years if the tree peony has developed good roots. If that is the intention, then the plant can be buried on an angle so that the herbaceous root can be removed without removing the whole plant from the ground. Have planted some grafted plants with the tree portion oriented north in case the nurse root, which can get quite large, might be removed by soil removal on the southerly side of the plant. Various thoughts among growers on whether the herbaceous nurse root removal is actually necessary. Not sure if your upright stems are growing off a horizontal stem or if the horizontal stem is separate. You could bury the horizontal part to below the top bud or two that formed in the summer. Hopefully, this would encourage good root development on the horizontal part.
     
  18. levilyla

    levilyla Active Member

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    I planted a tree peony two falls ago and it looks as if I am only getting an herbaceous peony coming up. Does this mean that the tree peony part is dead or totally gone? Should I just dig this up and plant deeper? It never had anything that looked woody on it.
     
  19. johnnyjumpup

    johnnyjumpup Active Member

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    Thanks for the info, Chimera. The one with the parallel branch has the new pink growth growing upward at the tip and there are two upright stems coming off the main portion of the plant closer to the union. I could just dig the whole thing up in the spring and plant it 5 inches deeper. The other one has two upright stems and shouldn't be a problem.

    I too have one that the tree peony part died off and the understock has sent up herbaceous shoots. I did notice that some show buds later than others but Levilyla's in the US should be showing leaves by now. My new growth is 6 in high and starting to unfurl. My forsythia has just started to bloom this week.
     

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