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  High Noon Tree Peony

   We recommend leaving the tree peony in its original three gallon container at least until the cooler months of fall. This allows the root system to develop more completely.

     It is very beneficial to transplant the tree peony into a larger container such as a half wine barrel, we do this the first fall, be sure to use a high quality potting soil. Tree peonies are grafted plants and care must be taken that the grafted union is planted well below the soil line. The tree peony should be left in the larger container for at least two years, longer is fine.

     Tree peonies should never be pruned because the new growth will come from old wood. The new growth hardens as the plant matures and a tree peony will reach 5′-6′ at maturity. Light pruning to remove obvious dead branches or to shape your Tree Peony are the exceptions.

     Take care to mulch the plant in the winter, we use pine needles; remove the mulch in early spring. The plant will also need consistent watering through the hot months of the year and would benefit from light afternoon shade. We fertilize the tree peonies with standard bulb fertilizer such as 10-20-20, in the spring and again in the fall.

     Some convenient time in the fall of its second year, remove the tree peony from its container, and wash the roots completely free of soil. Examine the roots and locate the grafted union. You should be able to see that the upper portion of the plant has developed its own roots-this is the desired result. The bottom portion of the root has its own root system-the nurse root.

     The nurse root needs to be removed. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut away as much of the nurse root and its root system as possible, leaving the upper portion of the tree peony and as much of its own root system as possible. The tree peony will grow much more vigorously on its own root system and your chances of success are greatly increased. When you have removed the nurse root, plant your tree peony in its permanent home in the garden; it is critical that the location be well-drained. Make sure it gets a little shade in the hottest part of the day and protect it from strong winds. It will then only need routine care such as you give other peonies.

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