Bare rooting satsuki azaleas : is it possible ?

akhater

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I have read a lot of mixed information/opinions about bare rooting satsuki azaleas do I was looking for your opinion and advice. I am also looking for tips about how to do it, the root system of the azaleas looks like almost impossible to bare root without cutting all roots !

I have a newly imported azalea (just a small one nothing worthy) and I am planning to do its first repotting late winter, it is in a very mixed soil of kanuma/akadama/pinebark and peat so i prefer to bare root it at least once.

thanks
 

jk_lewis

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If you are very experienced, bare rooting is possible, but aftercare will be critical.

The best thing to do is to cut all roots back hard, then cut away a couple of triangles into the root ball and pot into a fairly large, and fairly shallow pot. Repot in two years (one is possible if you have had very healthy growth) and cut two more triangles into the rootball in different locations. Reppot into a smaller pot. Repeat until all of the rootball has been replaced.
 

akhater

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thanks for the reply jkl, I am far from being experienced so I will skip bare rooting.

I have already read about the "cake" approach but never tried it.

1. How hard can you cut the roots of an azalea?
2. Isnt it risky to have a mixture of substrat each with different water retention?

Tx
 

jk_lewis

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If you cut out the pie-shaped sections, you cut everything in those sections. But 2 or 3 at a time is enough.

Yes. Use a uniform mixture for your soil. 2/3 organic material with and azalea with gravel, Turface or other coarse material mixed in.
 

Harunobu

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I don't know about bare rooting. Some people do it without problem while others say they have issues. Have no experience myself.

A very good mixture is 1-1-1 course (not milled) peat, perlite and shredded pine bark. This is what many azalea people use. Of course the Japanese use kanuma soil because they often live in Kanuma city. Kanuma soil does similar things as the 1-1-1 mixture. Perlite has neutral pH, Kanuma has lower pH.

Perlite can be replaced by other types of gravel, as long as the pH is neutral or lower. No lime based stuff.
 

akhater

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actually I meant the new substrat and the old one it came with
 

Harunobu

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I have heard someone say that if a rootball has a lot of peat then it is best not to use pure kanuma but be closer to the medium the roots are used to.

Not sure if this has any scientific reasoning behind it.
 

akhater

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Harunobu tx for the info, kanuma doesnt even exist here so I will probably go for rough peat, expanded lay and pine bark in 1-1-1 parts
 

Brian Van Fleet

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If this is the same one from your other thread, it really needs to get healthier this season before bare-rooting is a wise option. The leaves look bleached out by sunburn or lacebugs or something sucking on them.

The objective of bare-rooting is to completely change bad or collapsed soil. Younger trees like this one should tolerate bare-rooting with no problems. This one appears to be in a 4" pot...get it healthy this year, and have at it. Techniques such as removing pie-shaped wedges are really meant for older, established trees. Just be sure you spread the roots out radially so it can begin to develop some sort of base and nebari.

Yes, azaleas prefer acidic soil, but many soils are on the acidic side anyway; bark, coarse peat, and 30-50% aggregate will be fine.
 

akhater

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Thanks Brian, repotting is planned for next spring if it gets healthier that is.

Do you have any article or tips about how to bare root an azalea wich such fiberous roots system? And how much roots can I cut back safely?

Also, if you have time, I ve been hoping for some answers in my maple thread if you could take a look.
 

Bill S

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Water hose and chop sticks, wash out the "dirt", using the chop stick gingerly to poke away the old soil, and untangle as much as possible. Let it be healthy first is good advice.
 
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