In this newsletter you will find all information that is currently relevant to the crop of peonies. We trust that this information will help you in achieving a successful crop. Feel free to contact us for questions and remarks!

For a long time now you are receiving this newsletter from us. With information regarding the cultivation of peonies. Because we are always looking for ways to improve ourselves, we would like to hear from you how relevant this information actually is. What are things you would like to see differently and are there topics on which you would like to receive more information? We greatly appreciate any feedback, so please let us know!

Phytophthora

A quite new infestation in peonies is known as Phytophthora. An infection which takes place through injuries under humid circumstances. The fungus can survive in plant tissue and in the soil for years. The first infestation can be recognized through black and weak leaves in the crop. When there is an infection by Phytophthora in the spring, brown to gray black spots will arise on the stem parts. In that case the branches will come up like some sort of black brackets and they will not grow further than ten centimeters. After infection it is almost impossible to remove.

Click here for all the information regarding Phytophthora.

Watering

Paeonia is a sensitive crop. The crop is not strong due to the fast growth after sprouting. The plant repels its weakest flowers when the growth is fast while the weather is bleak. Especially during cold nights the frost will be blamed for this, but a lack of water is most likely the main reason.  A sudden spell of warm weather during the stretching increases the risk too. Do not wait with watering until the soil is dry, but make it as pleasant for the plant as possible.

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Botrytis

The first treatment against Botrytis has to take place when the plants start to emerge.  The new shoots can be infected when they emerge from the soil due to the fact that the fungus lingers at the surface of the soil during the winter. Drenching the soil with Collis can reduce the number of infected plants - for example with a sensitive variety like Flame - by more than 90%. Peonies damaged by the wind and frost are also more sensitive. Varieties in which Botrytis was present after flowering in the previous season, also need extra care. We would really like to emphasize the need to treat the plants timely and preventively. There is an advantage in doing so.

Click here for all the information regarding Botrytis.

Weed control

Weed control in peonies is more of a matter of discipline than a choice of means. In weed control the amount of organic content is almost only the most important factor. A heavy clay soil with almost little to no humus is light soil when it comes to weed control. The effect of a weed control product is being determined by a small line between effect and damage.

Most means for weed control work best in the first period after application. When there is not being sprayed at the right moment, then a higher dosage is needed. However, this also increases the change of damage to the plant.

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Fertilization

A quality peony needs a well-balanced fertilization. The time has passed in which a little bit of this and a little bit of that was enough. Peonies that have been standing in the same spot for multiple years can deplete the soil and certainly need nutrition.

Start of the cultivation

Until some years ago, only phosphate was known for a better root development. Now we know that the plants have a preferred order as it comes to the inclusion of elements. The order goes as follows: sulfur, boron, silicon, calcium, nitrogen, magnesium and phosphor.

The availability of these basic elements - and especially boron, silicon and calcium - is essential for a good start of the plants.

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Main elements

The element nitrogen is most easily absorbed by the plant. Lots of nitrogen is needed during strong growth, like in the first weeks at the vegetative stage (length growth).

There are two forms of nitrogen in your soil: ammonium nitrogen and nitrate nitrogen. Equal amounts of these two forms is ideally (a 1:1 ratio).

A lack of nitrogen causes the plant to get light green or yellow foliage, flowering too early, less length growth and vulnerability to fungus diseases and insects.

An excess inhibits Ca/Mg and boron absorption.

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Added value of suitable fertilization in peony cultivation

The cultivation of peonies is characterized in two ways: it is a perennial crop in which the same plant is harvested for several years and the annual growth process goes through two fases: a period before cutting and a period after cutting. An additional third characteristic is that appropriate customized fertilization pays for itself. Both in vitality and in the yields that can be achieved per square meter.

Click here for all information from DCM.

A good start is half the battle

When the first shoots are coming out of the ground, the plant wants to get its sugar transport going again. Especially in this initial phase the crop needs boron, silicon and calcium. These three elements play a crucial role in the start of the growth:

1) Boron activates silicon

2) Silicon starts the absorption of elements, starting with calcium

3) Calcium, with Silicon, takes care of strong cell walls and thus a resilient crop

Click here for all information from KaRo.

When planting peonies in fall 2021; the benefits of extra investing in 3-5 eyes compared to 2-3 eyes:

Number of stems/flowers per plant (2-3 or 3-5 eyes):

Variety Year Amount of stems Amount of stems
    2-3 eyes 3-5 eyes
Sarah Bernhardt Planting in fall: 2021    
  Spring:             2022 0 0
  Spring:             2023 0 3
  Spring:             2024 4 7
  Spring:             2025 6 8
  Spring:             2026 7 9
  Spring:             2027 7 9
  Spring:             2028 8 9
    32 45

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