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Peonies: terrible peonies this year

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sterhill
Atlanta, GA
(Zone 7b)

May 2, 2012
5:05 AM

Post #9106799

I am in Atlanta, zone 7, and have had stunning peonies every year but this one. They were thin and scraggly in the front of my house but thick and beautiful in the back. Yes, I understand microclimates but this was the first year for any difference. Also one (a single fuchsia) usually has 20 blooms and only had one this year.

Anybody else in this area had a bad peony season?

BTW - I have Sarah Bernhardt, Monsieur Jules Elie and Festiva Maxima with a couple of unknowns.

This message was edited May 2, 2012 7:09 AM
Cem9165
Duluth, GA
(Zone 7b)

May 2, 2012
8:54 PM

Post #9107983

Hey sterhill, I'm in Duluth, GA 7a/7b and my peonies did fine. I even had tubers that I planted last fall that gave some blooms this year. I know we didn't get very cold this winter, which may have affected your plants blooming, since they need several weeks of chill in the winter to get good blooms.

It's too funny that I have the same plants you mentioned above. I seen SB bloom, but never MJE, and Festiva Maxima was just planted this spring, but wasn't behaving, so I pulled it up and potted it, and it seems to be doing better
cathy166
Stamford, CT
(Zone 6b)

May 4, 2012
10:52 AM

Post #9110248

My peonies seemed to be starting up early this year. Their little pips started showing in the warm winter weather. However, while the blooms remain to be seen, I do not think the plants are as prolific this year as they were in the past. Fewer buds. I will have to check out the quality of the blooms.

Since the plants were up so early, and they are quite tall, I expected early blooms, but I think they know just when to open. The tree peonies have very large buds, but fewer than prior years. Some have opened, but they are not as large as those in previous years, and of course it became unseasonably cool in April in the northeast, so I guess something's gotta give in this upside down world.

Sterhill, perhaps something got into that garden (four-legged) and helped itself to your peonies, either above soil or below.
marie_kap
Williamstown, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 5, 2012
3:52 AM

Post #9111120

Mine are not a lush as in the past years and I too see less buds. I think it was the warm weather and then the cool temps that did it.
sterhill
Atlanta, GA
(Zone 7b)

May 5, 2012
9:25 AM

Post #9111422

nothing ate mine - although the deer do come around some times. When the deer eat they eat it all. These peonies just look scraggly and I know the soil is hard around this this year. Why? I dunno. Maybe I didn't put in enough organic matter around them. But maybe like marie says, it is probably this weird warm weather.

I started my tomato seeds on Feb. 11 and I put the plants out - in the ground - on the 24th of April. I had already upsized the pots twice. They are now a good 3+ feet tall, thick and full of flowers and this is only the first week in May. Usually I am putting in little bitty plants right now...

Weird spring.
cathy166
Stamford, CT
(Zone 6b)

May 5, 2012
10:32 AM

Post #9111481

Actually sterhill, I was thinking more below soil level, like a burrowing mole, vole, etc.

I agree. Weird spring. Haven't put any tomatoes in ground yet.
sterhill
Atlanta, GA
(Zone 7b)

May 6, 2012
6:11 AM

Post #9112398

"burrowing mole, vole, etc."

hmmm, never thought that - but I am going to dig them and put them in pots and baby them for a while so I'll see if that might be it. I sort of doubt it as nothing else looks bad. Just the peonies.
cathy166
Stamford, CT
(Zone 6b)

May 6, 2012
6:41 AM

Post #9112450

Last year I lost a red twig dogwood bush. In the spring as I was raking out that garden, out popped a "thing" that sort of ran. (scared the living daylights out of me; thought it was a rat) Then another that tried to climb a nearby tree. And a third. I had disturbed a hutch of baby bunnies. We'd had a tough winter with snow after snow, and I suppose the mom rabbit foraged for anything she could under ground. Must have been tasty roots.

Thumbnail by cathy166
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RosemaryK

RosemaryK
Lexington, MA
(Zone 6a)

May 6, 2012
6:47 AM

Post #9112458

I agree about underground pests, fourlegged or otherwise. My local garden center experts told me that even grubs knaw on peony roots and weaken them. When I started putting grub killer around their roots they started doing better. I could see little areas on the roots that didn't have the "skin" over them. This year, the same plants are doing great in general , but like Cathy's, some of the newer ones are rather tall and thin.

This message was edited May 6, 2012 8:50 AM

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