Author Topic: Help with azalea  (Read 4060 times)

jlushious

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Help with azalea
« on: June 15, 2013, 07:39 PM »
So I have found this azalea in my families' garden, probably around 15 years old. It grew slightly under and around another azalea and a heather bush for a long time - hence the strange trunk directions. It has some really great nebari and interesting deadwood. Just wondering if anyone had some thoughts on next steps with this. I won't be able to dig until the spring, should I try and cut off the right side branches, or maybe try and bend them closer together so the two sets are closer together before I dig it up? OR if you think this particular azalea is junk also let me know! Still new at this whole thing!

Thanks,

Jodie
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Help with azalea
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2013, 08:03 PM »
Something cool cool could be made eventually.  Cutting it back some now would be good to promote new shoots.  Has some raft or cascade potential IMO.  Looks like it needs more light @ the base.
 

jlushious

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Re: Help with azalea
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2013, 08:08 PM »
Light - definitely! It has been overcrowded by the other azaleas and the heather. Should I cut it back (and pull back the other bushes around it) now or wait a bit? I would like to dig a trench around it to prep it for digging in the spring, but it might be a bit late in the summer. I have no problem waiting to do this on a 2-3 year schedule, it's in a place that I can easily work on over time if need be.

Also, would it be worth trying to bend the two sides closer together while it's still in the ground, or maybe just prune and give it light and see what it turns out before trying to use existing trunk lines.
 

bwaynef

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Re: Help with azalea
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2013, 09:43 PM »
The trench wouldn't hurt, *BUT* I'd imagine its completely unnecessary.  I had a couple of middle-school boys relocate some azaleas for me this spring.  They're recovering well.  Azaleas are pretty easy to collect, and their roots are dense and shallow enough that you're sure to get plenty of feeder roots.  (Still, the trench isn't a BAD idea.)

Any prep you can do now will see more vigorous reaction than after you collect.
 

0soyoung

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Re: Help with azalea
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2013, 11:04 PM »
I replant/repot both evergreen and deciduous azaleas in Aug/Sep as well as spring. At most, they need some shade in the afternoon for a few weeks. Meanwhile, get as much sun to it as you can.
 

jlushious

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Re: Help with azalea
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2013, 06:25 PM »
Thanks guys, I'll try and clean it up, prune it a bit (and the others round it) to give it more light, see if I can shorten any long roots I find (if any) and generally get it ready for digging in the spring. Will keep you updated!
 

jlushious

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Re: Help with azalea
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2013, 10:41 PM »
Well I dug it up. It's still pretty spring-like weather here (aka rain) so I am hoping it has lots of time to recover this summer. I have pruned back some of the crazy branches and potted it in a big pot with the huge rootball still intact. So I'll give it a few years in this pot before slowly working it into a smaller one and developing the branches etc.

Also found out that this azalea was planted in 1989, so it's an oldie!

You can see the general shape I'm going to go for with this, although it really depends on how it buds out and what branches I can use. Also I think I will eventually slowly work on tilting it up a bit more upright - to the left, with subsequent repots etc.

What do you guys think? Pretty much everything now will just be about helping it recover from the digging. Any tips on babying azaleas?

Thanks!

Jodie

PS - Sorry for the washed out photo (and lack of background), from my phone!
 

Leo in NE Illinois

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Re: Help with azalea
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2013, 12:19 PM »
I like the way the living veins spread out to the roots, making a nice base. You are on the right track, next couple years let it recover, without doing much to it at all.

I like the idea of tilting it upward a bit. After the tree has had a couple years to establish. I would work that dead wood. carve the ends to make it look like natural breaks. Or even remove it entirely, if you decide you don't like the dead wood. Myself I would really consider completely removing the dead wood. The hollow left behind will fill in a little and give your trunk an interesting character. But that is my personal taste, you can keep the dead wood and make it look attractive. Don't work on it now, the vibration of the trunk from working the dead wood will break newly forming root tips. Leave it alone for a year or two as you said you planned to is a good plan. Let it grow.

Nice material, a good find.
 

jlushious

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Re: Help with azalea
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2013, 09:41 PM »
Thanks, the wood is really soft, so could be almost scooped out. On another thread there was some debate about deadwood in azaleas. I did like the treatment of lime sulfur with some natural colored paint in another thread I saw, will just have to see how soft or rotten it is when I get to that part. We will see how it recovers and where we get some buds popping and see where it goes from there! Excited with this find.

PS - I apologize as this should probably have been put in the azalea section, but I wasn't sure if it was a satzuki or not!
 

jlushious

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Re: Help with azalea
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2013, 11:29 PM »
Update, this clearly survived the transplant, it's budding out everywhere! Even on the old wood near the base. I have attached a few photos. One shows the buds popping right at the base, the other shows some coming out just before the long leggy branches start. I'll have some great new branches to work with come spring and be able to cut back the long spindly ones.
 

Leo in NE Illinois

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Re: Help with azalea
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2013, 11:09 PM »
Looking good, for this year, just let it grow. Maybe next year too. Then you can begin the fun.
 

jlushious

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Re: Help with azalea
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2013, 12:58 PM »
I thought I would add an update on this, definitely survived! Growing really well too. I moved to a much colder climate, so it is going to spend the winter in its original home. Still not sure whether I will move it out to this zone or not.

This is a photo in August just before I moved - so the new leaves have not hardened off yet. It had some great buds pop out all over the hard wood, so there should be no problem cutting off the long twiggy branches eventually.
 

jlushious

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Re: Help with azalea
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2014, 10:12 AM »
Quick update on this tree. When I dug it up last summer I kept it pretty much in its original soil because I had cut off a lot of roots to fit it into the big pot I had. So this spring I repotted it into a grow box and starting angling the tree upright a bit more to eventually get to the angle I would like. I also cut back a number of the long leggy branches since I had such great back budding last summer.

Just waiting on a few years to develop some better branching structure now.

The other thing is that the dead wood is flaking away (one of the dead wood branches broke off over the winter from teh soft wood), any suggestions on sources for wood hardener?
 

shimsuki

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Re: Help with azalea
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2014, 01:53 AM »
Azaleas grow like weeds, I don't know why people don't use them more in bonsai. Then again, I'm biased.
 

Leo in NE Illinois

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Re: Help with azalea
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2014, 08:35 PM »
Your local big box home supply store will have wood hardeners. Menards, Lowes, Ace Hardware, or if you are lucky enough to still have a local hardware or paint store, they would have wood hardeners too.

One of many brands is Formby's wood hardener. Another is made by Minwax

Looking good. You have nice budding back.