Author Topic: Repotting azalea tips  (Read 10237 times)

bwaynef

  • Administrator
  • Hero Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1785
  • Thanked: 33 times
  • USDA Zone: 8a
Repotting azalea tips
« on: March 15, 2010, 08:40 AM »
Azalea roots are like none other.  Its probably not a coincidence that Boon didn't use an azalea in his repotting dvd.

I've had a couple people mention that with azaleas you can cut wedges out of the rootball (particularly w/ nursery stock), and I've used that technique to no apparent detriment.  How do you treat azaleas when repotting them?  How do you change the make-up of your soil, and get the old soil out from under the trunk?
 

Don Blackmond

  • Hero Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 504
Re: Repotting azalea tips
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2010, 09:26 AM »
flush with water thoroughly.  roots should be dense and fibrous like a sponge. cut them back like trimming a hedge.  cut wedges if you want to or need to in order to improve draining, or drive in a thick repotting stick.  use 100% kanuma.  use a pot that is slightly larger than what you would choose for most other species.
 

noissee

  • Full Forum Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 101
Re: Repotting azalea tips
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2010, 12:21 PM »
Is there anything comparable to Kanuma? Pumice, Lava, Turface, etc.?
 

bwaynef

  • Administrator
  • Hero Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1785
  • Thanked: 33 times
  • USDA Zone: 8a
Re: Repotting azalea tips
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2010, 01:19 PM »
I had most of my azaleas in straight kanuma this year.  Its unlike anything else, with the closest alternative being akadama.  The stuff looks like Corn Pops (my apologies to General Mills or whomever), and is easily crushed in hand.  The roots seem to penetrate it completely.

I didn't get warm fuzzies with how well the kanuma held up on my trees.  The individual granules are still discernible but just barely.  I've read others "cutting" their Kanuma with Pumice.  I opted to try that out on a few of my azaleas ...but in getting the old kanuma out, I managed to tear apart parts of the rootball that I didn't intend to.  Maybe I should've done it in steps replacing pie wedges at a time ...over a couple of repots.

 

shimsuki

  • Sr. Forum Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 268
  • Thanked: 2 times
Re: Repotting azalea tips
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2010, 04:49 PM »
flush with water thoroughly.  roots should be dense and fibrous like a sponge. cut them back like trimming a hedge.  cut wedges if you want to or need to in order to improve draining, or drive in a thick repotting stick.  use 100% kanuma.  use a pot that is slightly larger than what you would choose for most other species.

I could not of said it better.
Also I recommend tying them in with chopsticks since the rootball is so fibrous. Also if you can get it put yamagoke moss on the top. :) I think I mentioned some stuff here: http://bonsaistudygroup.com/satsuki-azalea-discussion/sad-year-and-repotting/

I am going to Dave K's all this week since I am on spring break to help him repot.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2010, 04:53 PM by shimsuki »
 

noissee

  • Full Forum Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 101
Re: Repotting azalea tips
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2010, 05:11 PM »
and is easily crushed in hand.  The roots seem to penetrate it completely.

...but in getting the old kanuma out, I managed to tear apart parts of the rootball that I didn't intend to. 


Why would this be desirable? I haven't much experience with azaleas, so maybe I am ignorant of their particular needs, but this doesn't sound like a good substrate.
 

Don Blackmond

  • Hero Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 504
Re: Repotting azalea tips
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2010, 09:00 PM »
it is softer than akadama but more acidic and azaleas are acid-loving and do very well in it.  it will break down if you crush it.  you can use other substrates and then use additives the achieve the same results.
 

donmaple

  • Jr. Forum Member
  • **
  • Posts: 71
Re: Repotting azalea tips
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2010, 09:36 PM »
Noisee, I have found that azalea roots permeate any porous material. Mostly because they are very fine but make up for it in quantity. Like Don said they are acid loving plants and Kanuma provides this in a natural form that azaleas find completely usable. I have used Kanuma and transplanting can be more time consuming with it. I prefer a mixture of pine bark mulch(for moisture and nutrition) and red rock aggregate. I don't know the real name for this rock but it is a byproduct from coal mining, it is the sediment layer above and below a seam of coal. It is grey in color and will have some trace amounts of coal, so it burns but poorly. After it is burned or fired it turns rusty red color( thus red rock). It must be fairly acidic because azaleas seem to like it, but not as much as Kanuma. The shipping is much less for red rock though(local to southeast U.S.). The azalea roots don't hold to it as tightly and that makes my transplanting easier. This is just one mans opinion though, so ask around. Don.
 

noissee

  • Full Forum Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 101
Re: Repotting azalea tips
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2010, 11:58 PM »
I never knew Kanuma was acidic. That makes more sense now. I usually just fertilize my acid-lovers accordingly.
That red rock sounds interesting...can you buy it already crushed to a suitable size?
 

donmaple

  • Jr. Forum Member
  • **
  • Posts: 71
Re: Repotting azalea tips
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2010, 07:01 PM »
Noissee, I find it here ( S.C.) at local landscape suppliers. They sell it as aggregate for paths, bed cover, and drainage filler. I can get it with particles from roughly 3/8"-1/16". So some sifting is necessary if you want a more uniform size. I just sift out the fines. Mostly I use it for growing trees out in larger pots because it is cheap, does not break down, and provides very good drainage. If I had the time I would certainly use it on most all of my trees. I just don't have the time or equipment to sift it into uniform grades. Don.
 

MatsuBonsai

  • John Callaway
  • Administrator
  • Hero Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1398
  • Thanked: 6 times
Re: Repotting azalea tips
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2010, 08:27 AM »
I repot my azaleas like everything else.  Rake the bottom, comb the surface (gently, as the bark is thin), trim, pot, milled/shredded white sphagnum on top, and watered well.  Try to find a rake with 2 tines instead of 3 since the roots are so fibrous and plentiful. 

For soil I've been using 50/50 kanuma/pumice.  We've been getting a lot of rain for the past few years, so the mix helps keep it moist, but not overly wet (as I would imagine pure kanuma would yield).
 

bwaynef

  • Administrator
  • Hero Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1785
  • Thanked: 33 times
  • USDA Zone: 8a
Re: Repotting azalea tips
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2010, 03:44 PM »
My problem is that I haven't found a soil (or mix) that I'm satisfied with, so when I repot, I'd like to get the ENTIRE rootball's soil replaced with whatever I'm trying to replace it with (boon mix on some and pumice/kanuma (1:1) on others).  The fibrous roots presents a challenge in that regard if I don't want to tear it up.  I think from the suggestions given I'll be able to work something out in the next repots I do.
 

noissee

  • Full Forum Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 101
Re: Repotting azalea tips
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2010, 12:11 PM »
I also like to get all the old soil out of my plants. The only tree I didn't bare-root this year is my big collected pine. I was scared...
Anyways, I will be bare-rooting my azalea in a couple weeks probably.

I assume you guys order your Kanuma online somewhere?
 

bwaynef

  • Administrator
  • Hero Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1785
  • Thanked: 33 times
  • USDA Zone: 8a
Re: Repotting azalea tips
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2010, 01:22 PM »
I get mine locally, but you can probably order some from bonsaimonk.com.
 

John Kirby

  • Hero Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2216
  • Thanked: 16 times
  • I really need an opposable thumb...
Re: Repotting azalea tips
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2010, 11:15 AM »
Wayne,
We repot Azaleas with Boon every year. The reason he didn't do his repotting video on Azaleas is well, he is best known (and so was his teacher Mr. Kamiya) for his work with Pines and Junipers. He will have a whole series of videos on JBP care , thus the repotting video.

Like John C (MatsuBonsai) I have tended to  blend my Kanuma with Hyuga (1:1) for our satsukis. We water a lot, this ensures that the root mass is always well drained and oxygenated. I find any mixture with bark to be anathema for bonsai and no longer use it.

John