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                  TREE PEONY CARE           

Month by Month
by Kaneo Mega & Takahiro Somei, Japan
(Translated by Ron Ringdahl, Seattle, WA, USA)
 Text: Handbook of the Peony -7th Edition '95- published by American Peony Society


- JANUARY -

   At   this time of the year,  the branches of the tree  peonies stand bare  of leaves and the buds appear  dor-
     mant.  Since there are no leaves,  strictly speaking, sunlight is not especially necessary.  Though the "botan"
     (tree peony)
  is quite cold hardy, even so it is not desirable that it be subjected, such as it might be in areas
     of severe cold, to freezing conditions over an extended period of time, nor should the soil of potted tree peo-     nies
become frozen. Therefore, one could say that it is necessary to have the heat of the sun in order to keep
     the ice smelted.
        Though
that portion of the plant above the ground remains dormant, the root continues to absorb moisture.
     Respiration is also taking place. In short, one could simply say the colder the temperature is, the less the in-
     ternal activity of the plant. 

          I. Care of Garden Plantings
          1. Mature Plants (3+ year-old grafts)
           A. Mulch: Mulch is applied to the ground to help prevent freezing and drying out. This is not necessary in
           warmer climates.
      
      B. Watering: Not necessary.                   
           C. Fertilizer:
  Fertilizing is not done during this month,  but at about the middle of the  month at a rate of
           every
year or about one handful of lime is applied to each plant to prevent acidity in the soil. This is spread
           around
the circumference of the plant and shallowly worked into the soil. If the plants have been mulched,
           the lime is applied after the mulch has been temporarily removed.
 
           D. Planting, Transplanting:
Planting and transplanting are not ordinarily done during this month; in warmer
           climates, however, it is not impossible.
  If transplanting is an absolute necessary, the plant should be re-
           moved with the largest amount of the soil possible, care being taken not to disturb the roots, and trans-
           planted without breaking up the attached soil and then mulched.
  However,  this activity will have an ad-
           verse effect on that year's growth and is not highly recommended.
           E. Pruning: No pruning is done during this month.                      
    
          2. Immature Plants (1-2 year-old grafts)
           Root
systems of young grafts are limited and shallow. Therefore, these plants should be mulched, as in the
           case of mature plants. but both en cold and warmer climates.
In addition, they should be watered if they
           appear unusually dry.
Other than than that, their treatment should be the same as that of mature plants.
        
II.  Care of Potted Plants
          1. Mature Plants (3+ year-old grafts)
           A. Location:
A sunny exposure need not especially be sought out, but the plants should be placed in a lo-
           cation where the
soil in the pot will not easily freeze.  In warmer areas,  they can be placed in an out-of-
           the-way
  corner of the garden,  or,  in areas of average  winter conditions,  under the eaves.  In regions
           where the soil would easily freeze, the pots can be buried in the soil, thus avoiding pots being broken by
           the freeze. In the bottom of a hole dug in the ground, small stones pieces of Styrofoam,
etc., are placed
           to
a depth of about four inches, or deeper in the case of places with poor drainage. The pot is buried such
           that the top edge
  protrudes somewhat above the soil.  Then the top of the pot  and the surrounding soil
           are mulched.
          
B. Watering: Potted tree peonies should be watered at the rate of once a week for those placed in a cor-
           ner of the garden and twice a week for those placed under the eaves. There will probably be no need to
           water pots that have been buried.
              The
secret of proper watering, however, is not in deciding to water "every so-many days", but in water-
           ing when the surface of the soil in the pot has dried out and appears whitish.
  Then it should be watered
           thoroughly
during the morning hours. In colder regions or when serve cold is expected to continue for se-
           veral days, however, it is important that watering be kept to a minimum.
              Since
it is difficult to tell the agree of dryness of the soil with a covering of mulch over it, until the gro-
           wer becomes
  well accustomed to it,  he should directly ascertain the  condition of the soil  after partially
           lifting up the mulch and peeking underneath.
           C. Fertilizer: Fertilizer in not done this month.
           D. Planting,  Transplanting:
  Not done.              
           E. Pruning, Etc.: Not done.
           2. Immature Plants (1-2 year-old grafts)
           These
  should be kept in a  place warmer than that for mature plants, such as indoors. Other than that,
           the
care of these plants is the same as that of mature plants.                   
         
III. Prevention and Remedy of Disease
            To prevent the appearance  of harmful insects and disease  later with the onset of spring,  a  20:1  con-
            centrated solution of lime and sulfur is sprayed once over the plants.
This is especially important to do if
            if
the previous year purple or dark brown spots appeared on the flower petals, leaves, leaf stems, shoots,
            etc., or if
  the autumn  withering of the leaves came sooner than usual.  If only a small number  of plants
              
is  involved, the application of the solution can be done with a brush rather than a sprayer.

          
V. Notes for Especially Cold Areas
           
In areas where freezing conditions  continue over an extended period of time,  the plants should be well
            mulched.
  Especially in the case of potted plants,  each should be buried in the soil and a layer of mulch
            applied.
               In
this type of climate, the plants should be maintained in a somewhat dry condition, but if overly dried
            out, should be watered during the morning.

               Since the plants would have been fertilizing is done until the coming of warm weather.      
    


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*All rights reserved by American Peony Society (APS)
To join this peony society,
 send  $10.00  annual dues to Mrs. 
Claudia Schroer,  Secretary-Editor,  713 White Oak Lane, Gladstone, MO 64116-4607, USA. Benefits are received by members, including four quarterly bulletins. 
For members are many special APS peony books available. Also the above mentioned exemplar.
   
The APS also have a web address: http://www.americanpeonysociety.org GOWEBCounter by INLINE


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