transplanting tree peonies?

rosemctier(z5/6 waynesburg PA)January 31, 2011

Hi all! i might be doing some radical shifting around of things in my garden this spring and i was wondering... do tree peonies resent being moved and transplanted? i have a 3 year old high noon (?) tree peony that bloomed for the first time last year, and i don't want to anger it! any thoughts?

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Fall - just as the plants begin dormancy - is the best time. Like most shrubby, woody plants, this is when they have increased root development and a fall planting provides sufficient time for the roots to develop before the plant goes about the spring business of producing leaves and flowers. It is important to remember that these are really shrubs and have (or will have) a large and often deep root system. And much like their herbaceous cousins, they pout after transplanting - don't expect flowering for a season or two after transplant.

I've attached a link to the best - IMO - peony website online. They have excellent information on all things peony. And they have a catchy name :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: peonysenvy

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 7:24PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

it might be 3 years longer to get it to bloom again ...

peony is one plant.. that i would rather design around.. rather than move ...

short answer ... yes it can be done ..

i ask .. WHY SHOULD IT BE DONE ....

is your only option to move it???

move everything else.. and leave this foo foo plant where it is.. it is happy ... dont mess with the fates


    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 9:37AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

I've transplanted *young* tree peonies in the late spring before with no problems.

I'd be really careful about transplanting established ones and would follow the fall transplanting advice, if possible.

My oldest one (somewhere around 12-13 years, I'd guess) started as a one-stick wonder and I grew it in pots for years, potting up as the plant grew larger (with winter storage, of course). Didn't seem to mind that one bit, even after it was getting to be good-sized. So perhaps if you're not quite ready with the new spot you could go the pot route temporarily.

I wouldn't classify tree peonies as foo-foo - they have very tough constitutions when they're established, just as herbaceous peonies.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:02AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

foo foo .... they are for me.. out on the prairie [winter winds] ... in sand ... in full sun .... in my z5 ....

but you guys arent z5 ...

but i would still work around something that took 3 years to first flower.. for fear that it might be more years before it does so again ....


    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:10AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Tree peonies are perfectly hardy in zone 5, with some sources claiming zone 4 - these are not wimpy plants and don't require coddling once established. Of course, as with any plant - "right plant, right place" does play a role in vigor.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 2:49PM
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rosemctier(z5/6 waynesburg PA)

well, there's all sorts of reasons why it needs to be moved, the most distant yet pressing of which is that we will be moving in summer 2012. we are keeping this property, so it could stay here, but i would like to take it with me and move it while i'm doing the landscaping at the other place. if fall is the best time to transplant it, i can reserve a place for it and move it when it is safest for the plant. thanks for the input!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 5:29PM
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As to the "foo-fooness" of tree peonies, one of the larger and better known growers of both herbaceous and tree peonies in this country is Klehm's Song Sparrow Nursery located in Wisconsin (zone 5a). And they rate these plants fully hardy to zone 4. I suspect a lot of the alleged foo-fooness (I love that word!!) has to do with less than ideal planting conditions or siting. As mxk3 notes, right plant, right place makes ALL the difference :-)

Rose, if you are anticipating moving and taking the plant with you, I'd suggest rather than transplanting in fall, you simply pot up your peony in the largest pot you can manage that will accommodate the rootball. You can sink the pot in the ground for winter protection if you need to, but it will be less stressful on the plant to containerize it rather than transplant twice in such a short time period. Like other shrubs, tree peonies can develop a pretty healthy root system over time and transplanting always damages some roots despite how careful you might be. I wouldn't be entirely pessimistic about it not blooming during this period - one year old grafted starts of tree peonies we grow at my nursery bloom pretty reliably their first season, even in their nursery containers.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:40PM
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rosemctier(z5/6 waynesburg PA)

i'm really surprised it has survived, quite frankly, after the winter we had last year-- way more snow than usual, bitter cold, and then the rainiest spring i remember in the last decade. it does seem to be a hardy little thing. i am glad to hear they do well in containers, as that was one option i was entertaining. my bf thinks i am kidding about moving my garden from one site to another-- i don't think he quite understands how deep the obsession runs :)

thanks again everyone!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 12:32AM
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