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Re: OT - peony branch

From: HIPSource@aol.com

In a message dated 12/17/99 10:31:57 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
titlel@spawar.navy.mil writes:

<< Those damned squirrels broke a foot-long branch off my small tree peony, 
comprising about a third of its bulk, poor thing.  It came off flush with the 
main stem. This happened yesterday evening. 1) The broken branch has about 
five buds on >>

Lynn, I can offer this information from the 1928 Peony Checklist of the 
American Peony Society, which contains some cultural and historical essays. 
The essay to which I refer to is by John Wister.

Now, as he says, tree peonies are typically grafted onto herbaceous peony 
roots which is a means by which they can be increased rapidly. He discusses 
at some length whether this is an approach to be despised  and opined that 
unless the grafted top grows its own roots as the whole shebang will not 
thrive. So the tops will grow roots when grafted, which is always promising. 

And over on page 241 we find the following information. "Cuttings have never 
been used commercially as they are uncertain and slow, but about forty 
percent are said to root if wood is taken in September and kept in a close 

Now we are a bit late, but there is nothing to be lost by trying. I think I 
would cut the branch in half and insert both sticks into the soil abut a foot 
apart in a place where the soil is rich and stays moist but is not soggy or 
anything. If you have some fresh rooting hormone try it on the piece without 
the heel. If necessary, you could use a pot, but I'd try to find a good place 
out of the direct sun but not dank and a place where if one struck it could 
stay for a couple of years.

Fluff the dirt, stick them in, water them in to settle and cover each with a 
mason jar or mayo jar that does not crowd them. Screw the jar into the soil a 
bit. Then just leave them and see what happens over the winter. If the temps 
get truly filthy just kick some leaves over them. If the sun changes and is 
too bright on the jars, kick some leaves over them or smudge them with mud.

Hopefully he is not talking about that bizarre procedure whereby cuttings 
like figs are made and buried in sand in the coldframe and then stuck in the 
spring to root thereafter. But even if yours stay rootless all winter they 
may root in the spring. Just have faith and don't mess with them much.

An alternate course might be to stick it in a jar of water inside, but I 
don't support this since the things have gone dormant and also water roots 
are not the same as dirt roots.

Hopefully someone else will find better info for you but this is what I have 
readily at hand. Someone has my larger Alice Harding peony book and she does 
not do tree peonies in the smaller one.

Good luck.

Anner Whitehead

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