The information that is currently relevant to the crop of peonies will be given special attention in this article. We trust that the given information will be helpful in achieving a successful crop. Feel free to contact us when you have questions or comments regarding to this Peony Care Newsletter. 

Weed control

Weed control in peonies doesn't go without problems. Especially now, and with this we mean before the growth of the eyes, it's best to spray Kerb in combination with Chloor IPC. Kerb and Chloor IPC have a very strong effect at low temperatures (lower than 12C, but best around 5C) against seed weeds, like stinging nettle. Chloor IPC works best on moist soil in cloudy weather. 

In warm weather results will be minimum. Never spray in the rain. The rain will let the herbicide soak in the soil and this will cause damage. Never spray Chloor IPC when the new shoots appear above the ground. If a peony comes in contact with Chloor IPC, the result will be that it won't grow that season. There has been tested with dual gold. This can cause a lot of damage when there's illuviation. The result is a limited growth.

Don't use the herbicide Stomp in the greenhouse. This can cause damage to the plant.

Botrytis

The first treatment against Botrytis will have to take place when the plants start to emerge. Due to the fact that the fungus lingers at the surface of the soil during the winter, the new shoots will be infected when they emerge from the soil. Drenching the soil with Collis can reduce the number of infected plants, for example with a sensitive variety like Flame, by more than 90 percent. Therefore we would like to to emphasize the need to treat the plants timely and preventively. There is an advantage in doing so. The dosage is maximal 4 liter per ha. It works best when as much as possible is drenched on the plants with lots of water (for sensitive plants 0,20 liter per plant). 

Using Collis regularly isn't an option because of the resistance. Loosening the top soil in the poly houses and greenhouses can reduce damage by Botrytis.

Measuring

Take soil samples so that you'll get a better picture on the needs of your plants.

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Who is Soiltech?

The resistance of the soil and the plants in it, is created primarily by nature itself. This is the philosophy behind Soiltech's soil analyses and fertilization advice for tree, ornamental, fruit and vegetables growers and public landscaping projects. Soiltech has a broad range of products in order to achieve sustainable cultivation, reduce the use of chemical products and increase the growth of plants.

The total Soiltech system focuses on increasing soil resilience and finding the optimal nutrition for the crop.
 
Are you prepared for the coming season? Perform a soil analysis!

It's the beginning of the year and the cultivation is on hold. It's time to take stock. Not only of the revenues and expenses, but also of the most important part of the cultivation: the soil. Is it still in balance? Are you sure you're using everything the soil has to offer? A soil analyses answers all those questions.

What is a soil balance analysis (SBA)?

A soil balance analysis reveals the ratios of the various minerals in your soil. The value indicates the soil's clay-humus complex. It says something about the soil's potential for retaining minerals and supplying them to the plants. A SBA also determines which nutrients you've to apply to your soil to bring it into balance. These nutrients vary per soil and variety. We're glad to help you out with a personalized fertilization advice.

Everything depends on a good preparation

This is a perfect month to get an SBA done. There is almost no cultivation done and the soil has come to rest. This is important to get the most reliable information. Because the soil samples are being analyzed early in the year there is still plenty of time to resolve any complications in the soil. This will make sure that the soil is in optimal balance at the start of the new season!

Why do a SBA?

An SBA checks the overall need of the specific soil. In contrast to some other analyzes where they work with a region average for measurements. A SBA gives you a specific advice per element of the sampled soil.
 
For a personalized advice you can contact you adviser:
David Damminga: +31 (6) – 23 53 36 12 or david@soiltech.nl

Fertilizers


Top quality peonies require good fertilizers. Peonies that have been growing for a couple of years can exhaust the soil and surely need fertilizers. These plants have preferences as it comes to the order of the fertilizers. In the first stage of the growth they need sulfur, then boron, then silicon, then calcium, then nitrogen, then magnesium and last but not least phosphorus. The availability of these elements, especially boron, silicon and calcium, are essential for a good start of the plants. The grow will start slower when these elements aren't available. 

Main elements

Nitrogen
 is the element that is most easily absorbed by the plant. During strong growth, as in the first weeks at the vegetative stage (length growth), lots of nitrogen is needed. A lack of nitrogen will cause a light green or yellow leave color, less growth of length, flowering too early and susceptibility to fungus diseases.

Phosphate works favorable in forming the main root system. Together with potassium, the phosphate improves the forming of the flowers several weeks before the blooming. It's advised to apply extra phosphate and potassium before flowering time. A lack of phosphate will result in smaller leaves, less colorful flowers, possible later flowering and red/purple coloring of the leaves. A too large application of phosphate will cause that the plant can't take up magnesium and this results in a lack of magnesium.

Potassium ensures firm leaves and stems. At time of flowering it takes care of larger and full flowers (together with phosphate). With enough potassium a plant can protect itself better against fungus and bacteria. A lack of potassium will cause yellow leave edges, also leaves will get smaller and stems thinner. Too much potassium could cause salt damage and a poor plant growth.

Magnesium gives the plant its fresh healthy green appearance. It also has a function for the cells and the firmness of the tissue and it's a building stone for some enzymes. When there is a shortage of magnesium you'll see the leaves turn yellow while the leave nerves will stay green. Excessive growth doesn't occur.

Calcium is used by the plant for its firmness and to build up of the cells. Calcium is very important for the water regulation of the plant and is indispensable with higher temperatures. At a high temperature the plant will evaporate a lot and needs to take in more water. Shortage of calcium occurs when the growth is too fast and the humidity is too high, causing less evaporation in the plant. When the plant can't evaporate, it also can't absorb any water with plant food. Young leaves will wither, and the plant will be more susceptible for fungus diseases.

Micro elements are the vitamins and minerals for the plant. Micro elements are: Fe = iron, Mn = manganese, B = boron, Zn = zinc, Cu = copper and Mo = molybdenum. All these elements have an important function and are the building stones of the plant. Micro elements are also needed for the water regulation, dividing of cells and metabolism of the plant. The micro elements are absorbed by the plant through its roots, so it's important to grow strong roots on the plant. The plant food sold in trade contains little to no micro elements, so it's important to apply those during feeding.

The results of a shortage of a specific micro element are as follow:

Fe = iron. Young leaves will turn light green, yellow or white between the nerves.
Mn = manganese. Older leaves will turn yellow between the nerves.
B = boron. Growing problems and malformation of the leaves.
Zn = zinc. Growing problems and unwanted spots on the leaves.
Cu = copper. Dying buds, young leaves will curl and turn yellow or grey. 
Mo = molybdenum. Multiple problems with young and older leaves.
 
Normal fertilizing kg/ha for peonies on yearly basis
(at normal soil valuation)

  • N-demand: 200 kg/ha
  • Phosphate, kg.: P2O5: 100 kg/ha
  • Potassium, kg.: K2O: 225 kg/ha
  • Magnesium, kg.: MgO: 100 kg/ha

Before start of growth it's possible to fertilize with:

  • Organic material
  • Nitrogen (N) - apply 125 kg before flowering
  • Phosphate 
  • Potassium - only apply halve
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium 

During the winter a supplement of compost is advisable, especially for the parcels with the more mature peonies. All plant food needs to be applied in the correct proportion to each other. Otherwise a limited factor of what we call antagonism will develop. Which also means repression. The plant food element more present and higher in power will repress the food element that is less present, and because of this it's not absorbed by the plant. For example an application of too much potassium represses the absorption of calcium, but too much calcium can cause larger problems, because calcium represses almost all plant food except nitrogen.

Antagonism (red line): an element represses the absorption of an other element.
Synergism (green line): an element promotes the absorption of an other element

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What are DCM organic fertilizers?

Organic fertilizers are composed of different vegetables (like malt meal, cocoa shells, meal of oil cakes, tobacco dust, vinasse) and animal raw material (like hoof meal, bone meal, feather meal, hair meal) of natural origin. The nutritional elements (nitrogen, phosphate and potassium) in these fertilizers will release after soil organism, like bacteria and fungus, are breaking down the fertilizer grains. By this process of slow decomposition and the use of other raw materials the nutrients are released to the plants over a longer period of time, approximately 100 days.

Advantages of DCM organic fertilizers as opposed to chemical fertilizers

Chemical fertilizers are fast soluble salts, that will come available to the plant roots in one time. A surplus of plant food with chemical fertilizers can cause unwanted root damage. The plant can't absorb the large quantities of available plant food and a large part of the nutritional elements will be lost by drainage.

With the DCM organic fertilizers, the nutritional elements will be released to the plant according to the need of the plant. During warm and moist weather, when the plant grows fast and thus needs more nutrients, the decomposition of the fertilizer and also the release of the nutritional elements will be quicker. Because release and absorption of the nutritional elements are matched, all nutritional elements are absorbed by the plant. Almost none of the elements are lost by drainage and there is no risk for damage to the roots. Organic fertilizers don't only work effectively for a longer period, they are also environment friendly and save for the plant.

Besides this, organic fertilizers improve the composition of organic material in the soil which in turn is favorable for other soil organism.

DCM fertilizers for the cultivation of peonies

In the cultivation of peonies several organic fertilizers are being used. Difference is made between inside and outside growing. Below you'll see a list of different products being used often:

Inside growing

  • Mix 2 (7-6-12+4MgO): granular fertilizer with higher potassium for strong leaves
  • Micro-mix: granular micro elements mix (encompasses iron, manganese, copper, boron, zinc, molybdenum)
  • Vivisol: granular, creates a rich and variegated soil
  • Olega fer: quick working iron leave nutrition

Outside growing

  • Mix 5 (10-4-8+3MgO): granular fertilizer
  • Vivikali: slow release organic potassium
  • Vivifos:  slow release organic phosphate (also good available with high pH)
  • Olega fer: quick working iron leave nutrition

For custom advise you can contact your advisor or Andre de Ridder of DCM.
Andre de Ridder: a.deridder@dcmnederland.com

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The first shoots are coming out of the ground, so the plants want to bring their sugar transportation in motion again. Mainly in the beginning the crop will need silicon, calcium and boron. Silicon in order to fill its barrels, calcium to fill the cells and boron to regulate the transportation. In autumn the boron will be flushed away partly, because it's the least stable element. It's recommended to add humic acid in order to prevent that the boron during time will be flushed away.

Silicon

Dia-Life contains a high concentration of remains of algae fossils and mostly consists silicon. But it also contains a high diversity of micro-nutrients.
 
Calcium

Gyp-Life contains a high concentration of natural calcium sulfate. It also contains sulfur, which will benefit almost any crop in the growth phase.

Products from the Life Range, like Dia-Life and Gyp-Life, contains the fulvic acid among other things. The amount of minerals administered will be delivered within six days. In addition, the micro life is stimulated in the soil, so that also other minerals can be made available to the plant. The effect is further increased.
 
Boron
Boron increases the calcium efficiency, is involved in the cell wall strength and is important for a good root development. Liquid Boron Humate is a pure humic with 2% buffered boron. Boron is the most unstable trace element and easily flushes away in soils with a low humus level. Liquid Boron Humate gives a continuous boron availability.
 
For more information, you can contact:
Marco Culurgioni: mc@karobv.nl of 06-86 82 30 06
Danny Rood: dr@karobv.nl of 06-51 14 71 42

Slugs: the sneaky killer in your peonies!

In the winter months and in the early spring slugs can cause at a lot of damage under glass, but also in your field peonies. Therefore, be alert for gluttonous slugs and prevent damage on your peonies. Slugs (without a shell) and snails (with a shell) are mollusks. Slugs mostly appear under glass. They can cause a lot of damage in many varieties. They are not very particular in their choice of food. Slugs prefer young growth leaves, but also the sprouts of your peonies. Because slugs and snails are active at night and retreat during the day, they're not easily found on the damaged plants. The damaged plants can be susceptible for all kinds of fungus diseases.

Contact

More information is displayed on our website or feel free to mail or call our specialists:

Daan Kneppers

T: +31 (0)6 51 82 47 12
M: daan@green-works.nl

Ed Kleijbeuker


T: +31 (0)6 24 94 64 05
M: ed@green-works.nl