Cheap 7 gallon Azalea

Fi5ch

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I picked up this large (3 ' tall/7 ga/24.6L) azalea for $19 from Home Depot to experiment with as my first azalea. There is no cultivar info but its from a large wholesale nursery called Hopewell (NJ) Nurseries so I don't think it's an Encore. Is it safe to prune this back HARD at this time of year, thinking to bare wood 12" above nebari, if I don't mess with the roots or repot?

IMG_2318.jpgIMG_2319.jpg
 

Pitoon

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I picked up this large (3 ' tall/7 ga/24.6L) azalea for $19 from Home Depot to experiment with as my first azalea. There is no cultivar info but its from a large wholesale nursery called Hopewell (NJ) Nurseries so I don't think it's an Encore. Is it safe to prune this back HARD at this time of year, thinking to bare wood 12" above nebari, if I don't mess with the roots or repot?

View attachment 379536View attachment 379537
Hopewell Nursery is HD plant supplier in our region. This azalea is not an Encore hybrid azalea. Encore's are patented and require a license to resell which is usually mentioned on the tag. They are also usually sold in encore printed pots. You can cut it back hard now, just remember to seal the cuts. Branches should also be cut flush to the truck to minimize deep scarring.
 

Forsoothe!

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As usual, there are a whole army of individuals in that pot. Looking at the base of the clump I see that they are arranged helter-skelter and are un-bonsai-like. I think I'd try to pry everything apart before I did any chopping. You may wind up with two or three clumps. Re-orienting clumps of three can be a lot less complex than clumps of six or seven where there is always several pointing in the wrong direction.
 

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As usual, there are a whole army of individuals in that pot. Looking at the base of the clump I see that they are arranged helter-skelter and are un-bonsai-like. I think I'd try to pry everything apart before I did any chopping. You may wind up with two or three clumps. Re-orienting clumps of three can be a lot less complex than clumps of six or seven where there is always several pointing in the wrong direction.
It seems like the nurseries plant several cuttings to fill out the pots faster. Good for them, bad for us.
 

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Is it OK to use Elmers to seal the cuts?
 
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Pitoon

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Is it OK to use Elmers to seal the cuts?
I've heard of some people using it, but I doubt it will hold up in the elements.

I would recommend cut putty, once the healing begins it's easier to remove it......

Others have mentioned they used duct seal with similar results......

I have used cut paste, it's easier to apply but harder to remove....
 

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Congratulations on taking the first big jump - getting a tree and asking for others ideas.

Going for simple the easiest style is a concentric clump.... look up John Glenangel on You tube... his videos on trunk chopping and pruning later are good for either a clump or the style below.

Personally I wouldn’t do a concentric clump on this guy, but you certainly could. This looks like the makings of a good Kabadachi style bonsai, with taller and shorter trunks! Sort of like this.
2D6640DC-221A-495D-B9D6-531D2495142B.gif

The basic plan for this style is

A. Choose a front and ensure each trunk can be clearly seen from the front. Remove trunks that impede this pattern.

B. Do differential cuts, with the larger trunks left longer, respective of their diameters and the same for the shorter. In other words the biggest diameter would be left the tallest....etc. Use the putty like cut paste and press it firmly down on each cut. The first one @Pitoon suggests. It contains growth hormone.

C. Keep in half sun or use a 30-50% shade cloth until the new growth is well established.... be sure to water sparingly until robust foliage appears, but mist frequently. Do not prune any new foliage, including new sprouts from the base. You may use these later.

D. Wire one new long foliage branch upright for each trunk during the late fall or winter to establish the new trunk lines.

E. Start now to develop a wintering over plan!

OBTW - Do the cuts in the morning and ensure you take a half a dozen cuttings to grow out. This is a good practice for azaleas. You may need these for grafts. Also. Should your tree fail, you at least have new ones!

cheers
DSD sends
 

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As usual, there are a whole army of individuals in that pot.
Most azaleas are basal dominant so by the time they get old enough to fill a large pot like that they have usually thrown a few basal suckers to give a clump like this. I know the propagators often put a couple of cuttings together but that's not the only thing that gives clump azaleas. IMHO it is likely this is a single plant with many trunks from the base. It is Possible to split the clump up into individuals but probably better to selectively prune to keep a single larger base rather than several skinny trunks. Multi trunk or clump style may be possible but that depends on the arrangement of those trunks. Sometimes none of them synchronize with others so there's no harmony of trunk design.
Start by shortening but be prepared to eliminate entire trunks if they don't match with others.
 

Forsoothe!

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elmers is water soluble so it will only hold til the first rain. I'd say maybe a cool experiment in a dry climate but with the frequency of rain we get here it might not be worth the risk
Elmer's is only water clean-upable. When it drys it may get sticky, but who cares, don't fondle the wounds. Whatever is used to cover the wound only has to preclude pests & pathogens and mostly to prevent drying up of the edge of cambium and its pulling away from the underlying wood until the tree has a chance to do its own magic, usually not a long process. Elmer's doesn't stain the wound and will eventually fall off or peel off and leave the wound clean, wood looking. The money you save by not buying the Approved Gunk from Japan can be applied to your next case of beer.
Forsoothe, what's been going on with you lately? You have been so helpful and conducive to civil discourse. ;)
I have stopped drinking, but not for long.
Most azaleas are basal dominant so by the time they get old enough to fill a large pot like that they have usually thrown a few basal suckers to give a clump like this. I know the propagators often put a couple of cuttings together but that's not the only thing that gives clump azaleas. IMHO it is likely this is a single plant with many trunks from the base. It is Possible to split the clump up into individuals but probably better to selectively prune to keep a single larger base rather than several skinny trunks. Multi trunk or clump style may be possible but that depends on the arrangement of those trunks. Sometimes none of them synchronize with others so there's no harmony of trunk design.
Start by shortening but be prepared to eliminate entire trunks if they don't match with others.
In the US market multiple trunks are the result of nursery practices of always planting more than one individual in a container. They are doing it with houseplants now, too. It guarantees that the pot can be sold at an earlier age, even at a reduced price, and none are returned to them for credit. There is only enough value in a pot to handle it once, and when they are dealing with giant chains that will force them to credit them for unsalable goods, it becomes a big deal handling them a second time from 1,794 branches. So, it's standard practice now. That, and the fact that commercial nurseries are large corporations now, not family operations where the quality of the potted plant represented the honor and horticultural expertise of the propagator. Now it's an accounting entry. The world is run by accountants and lawyers. We're doomed.

There are root systems connected to every trunk that is chopped to nothing and in this case where there are so many protruding at funny angles, those dead roots will be counter productive when reducing roots now and especially down the line when this becomes more refined on top. Pain now or more pain later, take your choice.
 
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I can tell you from experience that elmers glue completely breaks down Seconds after it gets wet. I used it in my hair everyday in high school. I don’t know what makes you say it’s “water-clean-upable” but not water soluble. Perhaps the formula has changed since I was in high school but if your going to spend $4-$7 on elmers glue you might as well spend $8-$10 on tree wound sealer which comes in much larger sizes. Especially if elmers glue formula has changed so much that it’s now “sticky” when it dries. No one said anything about fancy Japanese cut paste, it’s much easier to work with, but only if you like spending. A bonsai secret for everyone, get an Amazon credit card to pay all your bills, pay the balance every month and use the points to get free bonsai wire, soil and cut paste.
 

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Actually, allow me to correct myself. I don't buy the school glue, I buy the woodworking version. So you may be right. The wood glue is permanent except it is not intended for outdoor use, so it decays over time, but long enough that the tree has progressed to the point that the wound is healed, by which time I don't want anything on the wound.
 

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Actually, allow me to correct myself. I don't buy the school glue, I buy the woodworking version. So you may be right. The wood glue is permanent except it is not intended for outdoor use, so it decays over time, but long enough that the tree has progressed to the point that the wound is healed, by which time I don't want anything on the wound.
word, I havent gotten their wood glue wet but it makes sense
 
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Pitoon

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Actually, allow me to correct myself. I don't buy the school glue, I buy the woodworking version. So you may be right. The wood glue is permanent except it is not intended for outdoor use, so it decays over time, but long enough that the tree has progressed to the point that the wound is healed, by which time I don't want anything on the wound.
I know Titebond III is waterproof.
 

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So anyway the glues are easy to apply with a Q-Tip, so I do it to lots of little wounds, too, and my intent is to seal the tips so that the closed system is maintained and the siphon action continues to work right out to the tips of branches. This, in addition to the standard large wound covering.
 

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