Azalea rootball and old soil

akhater

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I am new here so hi :)

3 days ago i repoted an azalea that had a root ball so compact that it was completely impossible for me to remove the old soil from it (pure peat from nursery)

I spent 2 hours trying to clean the roots and ended up cutting 2/3 of them and not being able to get anything out of the remaining 1/3

I have put it now in a well draining mix but i am worried about that old soil still stuck to the root ball.

So assuming that the plant survives this rough treatment is there any way to clean these roots or I will just have to let the plant live with it?
 

Bill S

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Typical for an azelea rootmass, usually reccomended that sections be removed over time, hopefully you left enough of the root mass for it to recover. Now TLC willl be called for, out of the wind, out of direct sun for a few weeks, don't let it dry out, but don't keep it soggy either. You will know soon enough.
 

akhater

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Thank you Bill,

Well I am afraid I cut too much ! however it has been 5 days and so far it is doing well.

It is out of the sun and I've added a plastic bag with small holes to keep high humidity.

when you say it should be removed over time how to do that ?

It is the section that is the closest to the trunk so how to remove it ?

thanks again
 

Bonsai Nut

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Think about your rootball mass like a big apple pie, and remove one "slice" every year. It is almost impossible to untangle azalea roots from solid peat, so you are going to have to prune the roots harder than you would normally want to. If you do this to one section of the rootball at a time (once per year) after 4 or 5 years the tree will be in 100% new mix without ever having had more than 20% of its roots removed in any one year. Make sense? Don't forget to include peat in your new bonsai mix - azaleas need low pH soil (high acid).
 

BUBBAFRGA

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I have had this same instance on every azalea I have bought in a nursery pot.....I have had 50% live after reducing that much but of the last three all have lived. You have to pay attention and make sure that the mass is getting water/ wet. I have found that the mix is getting wet but the root ball will still be bone dry. I soak them in a bowl / pan of water every second watering to make sure they are getting water to the root ball. After about a year they send out new roots and you don't have to soak them any longer. But BNUT suggestions is on the money about reducing over time.
 

akhater

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yea it makes perfect sense. I have to admit I haven't thought about it.

Kanuma is not available here so my mix is 60% expanded clay spheres (~0.5cm) and 40% of peat.

My other concern is watering, we have very hard water here. I am using water that rested for 24 hours or more to give enough time for the cholore to evaporate.

I am also using something like miracle grow every 15 days.

Is this enough or should I test with adding some vinegar or lemon juice to the water ?

thank you for the precious tip
 
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Try using a high pressure hose with a narrow stream next time. If you are careful you can confine it to one slice and remove the soil in a heartbeat, leaving a clear view of the roots to be pruned or untangled.
 
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Try using a high pressure hose with a narrow stream next time. If you are careful you can confine it to one slice and remove the soil in a heartbeat, leaving a clear view of the roots to be pruned or untangled.

Compacted azalea roots are almost impervious to water jets. They are more dense by far than boxwood. Cutting wedges from the "pie" works far more effectively.

Chris
 
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Granted, but I have had good luck using water and find that sometimes blindly cutting into a root ball can lead to severing a larger, wrap around root.



Will
 

october

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Hello akhater.... Just curious,,,, What size is your tree and do you have any pics of it....

Rob
 

october

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Those are nice flowers... Now that the tree is recovering. You will not want the tree to flower. If it does, removing them is a good idea so all the energy will go to the folaige and branches. in fact, you may not want to let it flower for 2 seasons. I know it is tempting to leave them for asthetic reasons. However, for the health and survival of the tree. Removing them is a good idea.

I hope this was helpful.

Rob
 

akhater

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Thank you Rob !!

Actually my approach is,

I took cuttings from the plant and hope to get some rooted

I will enjoy the flowers on the young plants and will not let the mother one bloom for some years I think this should speed up the process a bit :)
 

akhater

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I found a picture taken when it was in bloom
 

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