Collected Azalea

daudelus

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I recently collected this azalea from a garden and potted it in about 70/30 Turface/peat. I pruned it back upon collection in order to make it easier to transport and to open up the inside. I plan to let it rest for a year or two, but does anyone have any opinions on the potential?
 

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daudelus

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The branch coming forward and to the right in the first image seems to have potential
 

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capnk

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I think you have the potential and trunk/height ratios to produce a small tree. It takes these guys many years to trunk up for large trees. What size are the flowers? With azaleas, that is one of the considerations for deciding on the size of the final tree.
I would suggest you stabilize the tree for a season. Then start cutting the long leaders back. It will pop new growth like crazy. Pick a new leader and go from there.
The process will probably be facilitated if you prevent or minimize flowering.
Good luck,
Chris
 

Dav4

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I think a raft style or clump style might suit this tree. Take your time thinking about it before you commit to anything. Good luck,

Dave
 

Brian Van Fleet

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You're getting good advice from Chris here, but would add that if it was just collected this year, you might reduce it back quite a bit now. They have so much more stored up energy just out of the ground, and it may pop back better for you this year than next...from the dozens of Kurumes I've dug over the years.
 

daudelus

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You're getting good advice from Chris here, but would add that if it was just collected this year, you might reduce it back quite a bit now. They have so much more stored up energy just out of the ground, and it may pop back better for you this year than next...from the dozens of Kurumes I've dug over the years.

There are definitely some arrow straight branches that can be taken away immediately. I reduced the overall piece by about 1/3 when collected and the growth was mainly on the outer rim, with sparse growth on the interior from small twigs. If I were to reduce the tree now, would I be okay to cut back to below green growth?

From your experience, should I be sacrificing the blooms this year by removing them to preserve the energy, or will it not make a difference. I have some confusion over the expenditure of energy to form the buds vs. the actual flowering. Any info you have would be greatly appreciated.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Yes, remove flower buds for the next couple years...of course, leave just a couple to enjoy!
 

daudelus

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I think you have the potential and trunk/height ratios to produce a small tree. It takes these guys many years to trunk up for large trees. What size are the flowers? With azaleas, that is one of the considerations for deciding on the size of the final tree.
I would suggest you stabilize the tree for a season. Then start cutting the long leaders back. It will pop new growth like crazy. Pick a new leader and go from there.
The process will probably be facilitated if you prevent or minimize flowering.
Good luck,
Chris

Thanks for the input, Chris. I don't know the size of the flowers as of yet because it is a new tree to me and it hasn't flowered yet this year. How well do they back bud on substantially older wood?
 

capnk

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Daudelus,
They back bud like crazy. Removing unwanted buds is an annual chore. More at the base - remember they are basal dominant.
Chris
 

daudelus

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Relief! It's finally starting to pop buds practically everywhere! Am I being presumptuous to think that this means that, at least, it has survived collection? Also, are there any opinions on when this one can be moved out into a more sunny location? As of now, and since collection about 1 1/2 months ago, it has been in only shade.
 

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It's good to give it morning sun. Depending on the properties of the cultivar, it will be able to get more sun. But some cultivar's leaves will be burnt by bright sun all day.

Of course because roots have been pruned the logic that it will lose more moisture in the sun and that this will put more depands on the roots to replace that moisture, applies.

Partial shade is good too, of course. Full shade all the time isn't ideal and will probably slow down growth and reportedly lower the number of new flower buds. Full sun all the time also has it's problems. Especially in the case of an azalea with limited roots and in countries were the sun is quite intense, humidity low and the heat quite high.

The more sun, the more water of course. Don't let the root ball dry out completely. You have 70% turface so overwatering doesn't seem to be a significant issue.


Ooh, and when it is growing that of course is good. If it was dying, it would drop leaves and show signs of drought. It probably grew more new roots than new buds since collecting. Surely if it had had transplantation shock, you would have known by now.
 
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daudelus

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Partial shade is good too, of course. Full shade all the time isn't ideal and will probably slow down growth and reportedly lower the number of new flower buds. Full sun all the time also has it's problems. Especially in the case of an azalea with limited roots and in countries were the sun is quite intense, humidity low and the heat quite high.

Ooh, and when it is growing that of course is good. If it was dying, it would drop leaves and show signs of drought. It probably grew more new roots than new buds since collecting. Surely if it had had transplantation shock, you would have known by now.

Nice to have some affirmation :)
I will need to do some observation at my home to see if there is a place for morning sun during the hot summer months. For the spring, morning sun was easily found, but now that the maples over head have leafed out, there is mostly full shade (dappled shade at best). Thanks for the info!
 

daudelus

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An update on the collected Azalea... It has shown great growth to this point. I am wondering if I should just let it grow untouched this season (collected this spring '11), or should I be taking off the growth on the base? Any info or opinions would be great! Thanks!
 

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jk_lewis

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I would eliminate all of the long, arrow straight branches, and I would do it now. Cut them flush with the trunk (or slightly concave). They will never bend and cannot contribute to any decent bonsai design, so there is no sense having the roots expending any energy keeping them alive. I think your selection of a leader is quite intereting.

Don't forget to cut them into many pieces to use as cuttings -- for your yard, if for nothing else.
 

daudelus

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I would eliminate all of the long, arrow straight branches, and I would do it now. Cut them flush with the trunk (or slightly concave). They will never bend and cannot contribute to any decent bonsai design, so there is no sense having the roots expending any energy keeping them alive. I think your selection of a leader is quite intereting.

Don't forget to cut them into many pieces to use as cuttings -- for your yard, if for nothing else.

You don't think it would be too stressful to cut it back like that in July of the same year it was collected?
 

jk_lewis

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No. You'd actually be relieving the stress of the roots trying to support all that top.
 

daudelus

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Jim, I had read in the past to leave stumps on major chops for azaleas rather than flush/concave, without really knowing the reasons. What do you think? It seems that to hedge my bets, I should leave the stumps, take off any future buds from the stump and then remove next spring. Do you see any negative outcome to doing it this way?
 

jk_lewis

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I never do, but stumps are fine.
 

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