Anna Marie Tree Peony, Peony Farm, WA
Fall is the best season to plant, because it helps development of new roots and recovery for normal growth in the next spring. If tree peony is divided or planted in spring, the root system cannot recover before the growth and development of the parts above ground. Thus the nutrient supply cannot match the need and the plant may lose its vitality, and effect their normal growth, flowering will not return until after several years cultivation.A light layer of mulch or compost will protect your plant in the winter. Use of wood chips is not advisable as the decaying process can infect the plant. Be sure to remove the mulch after the danger of frost is over.
It is not necessary to fertilize at planting in the fall. Starting the second year, it is recommended that fertilizer be applied three times a year. Use a complete or organic fertilizer. Follow the instructions provided with the fertilizer to determine the amount required.
1st Application: Should be done in the early spring as soon as the soil is workable. At this time, the leaf may not be fully developed and spread, but the roots are actively growing.
2nd Application: Apply soon after blooming. This will help the plant recover and will provide the necessary nutrients for new growth.
3rd Application: The final fertilization stage should take place between late fall and early winter. Use half as much fertilizer much as required in the previous two stages.
Once established, tree peonies are drought tolerant plants. Excess water will suffocate the roots and is the leading cause of plant failure. Do not plant near auto-sprinkler systems that keep the soils continuously moist. Do not water until soil is dry below the surface and try not to wet leaves when watering to prevent fungus. Be observant; soil can dry out on top and still be moist 6-12” below the surface. When you feel the soil is dry below the first 4-6”and leaves may droop slightly, water the roots deeply. Climates of hot summer temperatures with little or no rain at all will require more attention to watering then those areas that get some rainfall.
Failure to follow watering guideline will give unsatisfactory results.
A three year or older tree peony is usually capable of blooming the season after planting. Some varieties take longer. Once they start to bloom, you will enjoy an abundance of beautiful flowers.
Be careful in cutting too much of the wood stems when cutting for flowers, cut about 2 inches or less. Remember, those woody stems are next year's flower harvest.
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