Peonies are perennial plants with large fragrant blossoms and lush foliage. They are susceptible to pests such as nematodes, garden symphlans and thrips. The damage inflicted by these pests are a serious nuisance.
The main culprits responsible for pest diseases in peony plants are root knot nematodes, garden symphlans, swift moth larvae, thrips, flee beetles and ants.
The signs that indicate your peony plant has an infestation problem include a damaged root system, blackened buds, flower damage and petal discoloration.
Because of the pests, the peony plant will fail to bloom. Nematodes, swift moth larvae and garden symphylans feed on the root system, depriving the plant of nutrients.
Spraying insecticide on branches and flowers stops thrips and flea beetles from damaging the flowers. To remove nematodes from the root system, uproot the plant and wash away the soil from the roots. Remove all the small roots and scrub the thicker roots. Replant in pest-free soil.
To prevent infestation, ensure that new plants are pest-free before planting them. Avoid planting peony plants close together. The recommended spacing is 24 to 36 inches apart.