Are peony varieties growing in the area?
Yes, said Chris Saldana, a researcher with the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The plants are actually growing here in Colorado Springs, he said.
He said the USDA is studying the situation, and will issue a final determination later this year.
Are peonies protected?
The USDA considers peonies to be a native species, and says they are protected from all commercial activities, according to the Peony Watch blog.
But some people worry that these plants could be harmed by cultivation, said Saldano, who has been studying the plant’s evolution for a decade.
“It’s hard to see a clear future, and we don’t want peonies dying out,” he said, “so the next step would be for the USDA to make sure that they’re protected.”
Peonies are also considered a wildlife species, said the NRC website, because they can climb up walls and climb trees, sometimes even without assistance.
How long does it take for peonies’ natural cycle to start?
About 30 days to one month, according Saldanos blog.
Do I need to spray?
Yes if the plant is growing in a garden, said Brian Smith, a plant biologist with the NPS.
But not if it’s growing in someone’s yard or backyard.
Smith said peonies need to be treated the same as any other species, because peonies are not pests, and don’t need to have an area sprayed.
Does peony damage make me want to cut down the plants?
No, said Smith.
Why don’t you have peonies?
Because the plant needs protection, said Adam Stahl, a wildlife biologist with Natural Resources Conservation Service.
What are the risks associated with the peony plants?
The peony is an invasive species that has spread across the country, and it’s not yet known if they can take over new landscapes.
It also poses some environmental risks, including pollination and pest control, Smith said.
It’s important to take care to limit its impact, he added.
For now, the NSP is monitoring the situation.
But if there are any issues with peonies, the agency should consider using them in conjunction with other species that can provide habitat for peony populations, said Stahl.
Where can I get more information?
Saldanas blog can be found at: http://peonies.nps.gov/