Developing Azalea roots and trunk

digger714

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Hello everyone. I have some satsuki azaleas that i planted in the ground 2 years ago. They are doing
great, and am wondering if i should prune them back to encourage more growth. I am only looking for nebari and trunk building now, and have been just letting them grow. I read that its good to cut back hard after flowering to produce more buds, but didnt give a time to do it in the building of the trees roots, and trunk. I would think just let grow, but then again, if you can get more branches, then more size, more weight, more roots, more trunk, lol. Anyway, not trying to really speed things up, but want to do the best for the tree, with as little scaring later. Thanks in advance.
 
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A tree can only put on as much mass as the total value of the extension it adds in the growing year.

So... if you want a big trunk... radical growth is the only way to achieve it. Now having radical growth all over isn't needful... you can pick a few well located branches and the current leaders and let them grow crazy big for now, while maintaining the rest of the tree to some degree.

But remember, with azalea it's not uncommon to have to take a really old specimen and bring it back to the trunk and regrow it's branches. Azaleas tend to heal well, so don't fret about letting it grow like crazy to get the desired rootage and trunk... just be strategic about it... so you don't get unattractive swelling in places you don't want it later. ;)

Hope this helps.

Victrinia
 

digger714

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Thanks alot Victrinia> So as long as i dont have more than two branches growing from any one point, then that should be ok to keep from developing any large bulges while growing the nebari and trunk? Like with my maples, ive learned to keep only one leader growing, and let the sides go wild. Always having no more than two branches from any one point. But with azaleas, it is the opposite, correct? I have pines with some sacrificial branches, so ill do the same with the azaleas? Is is better to have the lowest branch as the sacrifice? Am i correct in thinking anything below a branch gets thicker? How far down the tree does that mean? I guess you should keep the bottom of the tree to shape, and let everyone above where you are going to chop go crazy? Thanks for all the help.
 

irene_b

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so you don't get unattractive swelling in places you don't want it later.

Please explan this in better details.
Mom
 

digger714

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Thats what ive always understood to be the point of only leaving no more than two branches growing from any one point. Hopefully Victrinia or someone will clarify that for us. Then prune most of the tree to no more than two nodes? Except for the sacrifice branches? You would have them where you want to thicken, like the lowest near the soil line? Although, by the time the trunk gets large enough, the branches probably are too thick for the final design? Thanks again.
 

rockm

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Swelling can occur at branch junctions with the trunk in some species. Some species are worse than others, but generally two or more twigs growing from the same point on the trunk will produce a bump on the trunk because of all the sap transferal going on there. Removing all but one or two minimizes that.

Sacrifice branches should be grown where growth is needed, but in areas where the impact of their eventual removal can be minimized. For growth on the trunk grow a lot of branches on the trunk. Hopefully, some will sprout on the back of the future trunk, or emerge from the trunk at angles that make removing and reducing the stubs easier to remove without leaving too much evidence of their presence.
 

digger714

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Thanks alot rockm. Does the growing around the branches occur below the branch, or above it, or does it grow larger all around the branch? I really appreciate all the help.
 
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The swelling will tend to be generally all around the area where there are multipul branches eminating from the same area. The flow of sap does it, but so does the additional heartwood being added over successive years.

Azaleas love to branch out in whorls... which is why I mention it. 5 branches around the end of a terminal are common. That's why you always pare it down to one or two in an area... or you'll end up with a knob at the juncture of that whorl. Same with pines.

Since it sounds like you didn't let it flower this year (which was the right thing to do) it should try and put on a lot of growth this summer. Don't prune after July though, because while you'll take off the flower buds for next year, you also may end up with more growth which doesn't have enough time to harden off befor winter - so it'll die back. So make your choices soon... and let the thing grow out in those areas where it won't matter... as long as you have a way to effectively remove that bulky section in an artful way in the end.


Make sense?

Kindest regards,

Victrinia
 
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