Taming Out of Control Peonies

    Listen 00:52:57

    Many plants that people put in place to honor loved ones fail to thrive. Mike McGrath, host of You Bet Your Garden, will try and figure out what to do when peonies are planted with a purpose, but are perhaps thriving a bit too much.

    Question of the Week:
    We love your show, listen every Sunday at noon on WYSO and have a question for you. We have six mature peonies around my Mother’s and Grandmother’s headstone. They are beautiful and bloom like crazy in May, but have grown so large that they are covering up their names. My Dad wants to cut them back; I don’t want to. Please advise.
    -Susan in Southwestern Ohio

    Here’s what to do when peonies block an important view »

    Asian Hornbeam Trees

    John from Yellow Springs, OH is concerned with his asian hornbeam trees. In April, his mother paid the local tree community $400 to plant two amelanchiers between the sidewalk and street. They unexpectedly got asian hornbeam trees instead of amelanchiers. John is perplexed because the planter left burlap below the wood mulch, and if the burlap remains the roots will girdle and the trees will die.
    Mike advised John to wait until fall to after the leaves have fallen to dig up the tree, and take the wrapping off of the tree. “When you put it back in the ground , leave mulch overtop the soil, and spread out not deeper than 2 inches and not touching the trunk of the tree.” From there, John can water it and watch it grow!


    Sarah from Hershey, PA wants to know why her hydrangeas haven’t bloomed in the last two years. She has a garden in Stoneharbor, NJ that has a bed of hydrangeas since the mid-90’s: four mophead and four lacecap. Professional landscapers prune them twice a year and Sarah wants to see her flowers bloom. She says they haven’t bloomed in the last two years and wants to know why.
    Mike reminded Sarah of the “savage winters”, and its damaging effect on plants, including killing the top growth but saving the roots. He recommended her to cut off the part of the plant that is protecting the crown, and by doing that, will salvage the plant and “insulate the root system.” She should also not prune in the spring or fall and when she does, wait until the flowerheads form, then prune.

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