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Newbie Bone meal question?

Dansville, NY

Hi, I am new to this forum. We have just bought a farm house in central NY state and it has an old peony bed at least 70 years old, with many of the peonies missing in areas. I have purchased new bare root peonies to fill in these bare spots when they arrive in the fall. I am new at all this so any help would be very much appreciated.
I have raked in top soil and composted manure in an attempt to revitilize the soil of the old bed for now and will fertilize in the spring when the new growth comes up
My question is if it would help or hinder the new plantings if I mixed in a cup of bone meal directly with the soil that will fill in around the new peony root. I also plan on mixing bone meal and composted manure in the bottom of the planting hole as well.
Thank in advance, Bob...

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Hello Bob, welcome to the Peonies forum. I wanted to share with you the information that I saved from a well known nursery's website several years ago:

"Peonies should not be over-fertilized. Any complete garden fertilizer, not too rich in nitrogen, works. Rose food and conservative applications of BONE MEAL are ideal for peonies. Fertilizer should be applied mid to late spring around the drip line of the leaves. Over fertilization may reduce flowering. Spring and fall toppings of compost may be used instead of fertilizer."

Be sure to not let the composted manure come in direct contact with the roots of your new plants, as it can burn them. Some people don't fertilize their peonies, and they posted beautiful blooms in our 2012 threads.

I put in 2 new beds for peonies last spring, and prepped the area with top soil, soil conditioner, and composted manure, and used pine straw for mulch. I planted 17 peony tubers in these beds last fall. I use bone meal in the planting hole for just about everything that I plant, and I love the idea that it helps root development, which in the long run will give you a stronger plants. I did have several blooms this spring from these newly planted tubers. I hope that you find this information useful, and happy growing. I'm no expert however, so hopefully our peony experts will also give their input. Annette

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I am no expert either, but I have used Azomite around the drip line and the plants seem to like it. Crickett Hills in Conneticut recommends this and I have done so each year. It isn't a fertilizer but rather a mixture of minerals. I use just a 10-10-10 in the spring.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Some of these things may be climactic distinctions. I have peonies that have been in for more than ten years and this is what I do.

I avoid the use of "real" bone meal with bone in it. Dogs and other creatures will mistake it for the presence of a dead animal, and will dig it up. I use triple superphosphate at the bottom of planting holes for root stimulation. Don't just sprinkle it, because it does not travel through the soil.

I rely heavily on compost. That, and the use of 10-10-10 fertilizer in the spring - one time only - is also something I do.

Some of my peonies did not bloom for years because the depth of the mulch was keeping them from blooming. This may be because the layer I used was too thick. When I removed it entirely, they bloomed.

It is very important, by the way, to remove all foliage at the end of the season.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I bought some of that superphosphate this year but it is in a bottle and looks like it is liquid. Never used it. I have seven peonies coming soon. Should I just pour the recommended amount in the bottom of the hole and cover with a little dirt do you think? Course, I could just go out side and read the label. lol. But now I am incentivized to actually use it.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

You are very funny!

The deal with super T is that it is great for plants but it does not travel through the soil. So if you put it on the surface it can't reach the plant. So I was instructed to put it at the bottom of the planting hole, which I always do. Your plan sounds good because your babies will grow their roots into it. Mine has always been in granules.

There's too many things to read already, for crying out loud! If you have a trusted source for info, go for it!

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Only trusted sources are here -- well mostly. I did get the bottle and read the label. It is for hydroponic setups. I will have to find out what the ratio is for the liquid to water and will give it a try. Hey, I might have mondo super peonies next year.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I learned all this the hard way. I have developed the annoying habit of standing in store aisles reading labels.

Modo super peonies - hey, let me know!

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Mary which kind of Azomite do you use, the pellets or the powder?

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Pellets. Which reminds me I need to go buy some for the plants coming in any day.

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Thanks for the info, I'm going to see if I can find a local source for the Azomtie. Annette

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I have some coming too. I know it sounds absurd but I can't wait to put them in. 2 Burma Midnight for a shady area where Burma Ruby has done so well, and my old love Mrs. FDR. I'm moving around things in my limited sunlight for this one.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I am hoping the rain will stop before winter so I can continue some moves, dig the holes for the peonies and cut down stuff. Got my new chipper/shredder so I will have lots of stuff to spread as mulch. Never tried that before but hoping to cut down on the hundreds of dollars of soil I bring in each spring.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I wasd trying to get my hands on a chipper/shreader but they looked scary and were incredibly expensive.I was going to hire someone to chip my many branches but the cost was absurd. The person who lived here before me chipped and spread leaf mulch for years and the soil is incredible.

Good for you.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

they are very spendy. I would not have done it but D insisted. And you have to read reviews. There was one $100 less at Lowe's but the reviews were terrible. Better off the spend the money than risk the nightmare situations we read about. Send your stuff up here and I'll chip it for free. LOL

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Oh, yeah, it's in the mail! LOL indeed!

The previous owner spent the money to ship it to New Zealand. I was flabbergasted until I saw the cost. But you can bring anything you like into NZ tax free. If you buy it there a 15% value added tax applies. And the NZ dollar is much stronger than the U.S. dollar. Effective result? Agallon of paint is $90.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Ouch... let it peel.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

No kidding!

Better yet, most homes in NZ, even $500,000 ones, don't have insulation. You get to put it in yourself.

It was 23 degrees a couple of weeks ago. You freeze in your home.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

My MIL went there for some advanced education and wanted to move there. My FIL went down once and said "not in this lifetime." For a variety of reasons, some of which were political. I hear it is a lovely place to visit though.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

My friends were there over ten years ago and got a much more favorable impression (and a 10% value added tax and strong dollar). They have all kinds of rules about who can move there. If you don't have a job you have to be willing to invest $400,000. If you don't have a job you must be there on or before age 50. They import tons of stuff so its all expensive. They don't allow the importation of plants.

Check this out:

Indexes Difference
Consumer Prices in New Zealand are 40.59% higher than in United States
Consumer Prices Including Rent in New Zealand are 34.36% higher than in United States
Rent Prices in New Zealand are 10.12% higher than in United States
Restaurant Prices in New Zealand are 38.50% higher than in United States
Groceries Prices in New Zealand are 37.55% higher than in United States
Local Purchasing Power in New Zealand is 36.26% lower than in United States

This is why my friends bought a former school with a conservatory, orchard, goats, chickens and the like. They are going to grow a lot of their own food. They have $2,000,000 but were obliged to put down 30% on a house - with no insulation.

I think it's much like all the places lots of people want to live - San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Boston. What they know about it is old and out of date, and a whole bunch of people got there before you and ran up the prices.

They are going to come back here to buy stuff, because it is actually cheaper to fly here, buy here, and ship things back. And since the current is different, they left behind all kinds of electrical things, which was great for me, but really!

Sorry, really off topic. And hey, they left me a secret peony. I mention it on other threads. I was digging in an area that has been shady for years and hit the mother lode. A peony with about five eyes that was budded out - at least five inches below the surface. I put it in a pot, and I'll find out what it is in spring.

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