First satsuki, advice wanted

Rivian

Shohin
Messages
497
Reaction score
394
Location
Germany
USDA Zone
6
I bought this 7 y.o. satsuki a week ago, its in pure kanuma right now I believe.
I would like it to grow larger, is it advisable to put the rootball into a bigger pot and fill in the difference with vermiculite/bark/perlite mix right now?
If you look at the close-up, you can see many dead aerial roots, so there is some eagerness from the plants side, and I'm considering burying it like a raft and separating rooted sections next year.
Maybe wrapping something around the lower trunk so it doesnt root also.
Ive read a short pdf that explains how to propagate satsuki true to type.
I have never seen this individual plant flower but I will add an internet result for yumehanabi ( dream fireworks) in flower
7877d.jpg
697866ed.jpg
87976875d.jpg
1629216335226.png
 

Deep Sea Diver

Masterpiece
Messages
2,407
Reaction score
4,617
Location
Bothell, WA
USDA Zone
8b
That’s a really nice Satsuki cultivar and a relatively rare Satsuki design. Not sure I’d raft it at all, but your tree, your choice

It does need thinning and repositioning though. Those are branchlets that were incompletely cut or died back.

If you repot into a larger pot be absolutely sure to match the media type. Otherwise you create an water imbalance in the soil, leaving the tree open to root fungus.
Kanuma is the best fit the for this tree and will be in the future. changing the media out totally will be an enormous chore for someone who is conversant with Satsuki.

Jim Trumbly’s Propagating Multi Patterned Satsuki article is the best short technical explanation on how to propagate true to type. Kennedy’s Satsuki book explains it really well too for the average Joe or Josephine.

Good luck!
DSD sends
 

bunjin

Mame
Messages
113
Reaction score
117
Location
Goleta, CA
USDA Zone
10a
At this point, it is somewhat of a windswept style. You could also transform it to a cascade or semi-cascade. A raft style is also possible, but not for propagation purposes as air-layering or taking cuttings would then be the preferred choices. Repot it soon if it is root bound in similar soil assuming your climate is favorable to doing it at this time of the year or wait for Spring. If propagation is important, I would not be doing any trimming now because you will remove buds and therefore the flowering patterns that will guide your process. I think you can refine it and use it for propagation at the same time.
 

Deep Sea Diver

Masterpiece
Messages
2,407
Reaction score
4,617
Location
Bothell, WA
USDA Zone
8b
Concur, there are not many windswept style satsuki at all comparatively. Similar to semi and full cascade.

A raft is certainly possible. The tough part will to create multi year age differential and a distinct, yet abstract spacing between trunks, starting from a state where all the branches are of similar age. This can be done with a series of selective cut downs over 4-5 years.

In any event the highest priority item would be to find out if the tree needs repotting next spring. Its a middle northern type tree so that would put it in the mid March timing up here.

My initial impression was that someone once did a really good job of the initial windswept style and kept it up for a number of years, then for some reason it was neglected at least 3 maybe 4-5 years. IMO the tree needs to be brought back down to shape and thinned. To get it back into shape. One would make a strong cut back to all the vegetative ends, leaving about 5 mm of green on each, except leave more on the top of the design.

The nebari also could use bulking out. That would entail bringing up the media about 3/4” where the trunk hits the surface. And keep it that way for at least a couple of years. If you aren’t repotting, I’ve seen plastic ring ‘collars‘ used to bring up the level, cut from little yogurt or cottage cheese containers.

Cheers
DSD sends
 

Rivian

Shohin
Messages
497
Reaction score
394
Location
Germany
USDA Zone
6
I dedided to bury it in a way that the long branch is horizontal and covered with a cm of soil. Wrapped the lower trunk so it doesnt root.
Substrate is vermiculite, seramis, fine bark mix. Added some organic fert. Watered in with rainwater. I prefer layering to cuttings when it comes to azalea and the situation fits.
Maybe I will make a raft from part of the tree but its not the true goal and the whole section would have to be radial paterned flowers
 

rockm

Spuds Moyogi
Messages
11,297
Reaction score
15,836
Location
Fairfax Va.
USDA Zone
7
FWIW, satsuki aren't really designed as bonsai. They are designed mostly as a kind of flower rack that resembles a tree. They are grown for the blossoms. A raft design--beyond the problems you're going to run into with the health of the plant--will make displaying blossoms kind of difficult. I believe What you have purchased is a cascade, or semi-cascade design. It's currently tipped horizontally (possibly to put some vigor into the main trunk, since cascading branches tend to get weak over time and need that treatment every now and then.

Even if it's not a cascade, I think making a raft from it is wasting a pretty decent trunk.
 

Rivian

Shohin
Messages
497
Reaction score
394
Location
Germany
USDA Zone
6
What you have purchased is a cascade, or semi-cascade
Really I purchased the cultivar and now I'm having fun with it :>)
Thats generally the place Im at with my young collection
Didnt want a cascade but there wasnt much choice
 

Deep Sea Diver

Masterpiece
Messages
2,407
Reaction score
4,617
Location
Bothell, WA
USDA Zone
8b
Having fun is a good thing in bonsai!

I concur with @rockm about wasting a good trunk. Converting to a raft design would take years to pull off successfully. You’d be better off honing what you have and looking around for a younger less expensive middling size mildly curvy tree and converting that into a more aesthetically pleasing slightly sinuous raft design. That would improve upon using this tree which would give you more of a straight raft.

In my experience I respectfully disagree with the thought of azalea bonsai as merely flower racks. There are satsuki specifically designed to be “Flower Towers”. In fact a read though Nakayama Suishio’s satsuki bonsai book reveals three quarters of the book is all about how to design different types of flower towers… in excruciating detail btw. . That’s because that’s where the most money is for many of the masters in Japan. (Very popular with the Yakuza btw). Also because in the history of bonsai azaleas… or more properly in Japan satsuki, came along way late in the game, around 1910. The reason this happened was decent bendable wire began to be manufactured then…. Thus azaleas could now be styled Into the traditional designs that were originally for conifers.

As late comers, these trees competed for the available dollars so there was a good deal of resentment between the competing bonsai masters. This lead some folks to adopt the stance that azaleas, even styled properly as bonsai , aren’t really “Bonsai”. (Gosh isn’t that a pervasive theme throughout history?). This went on through the years and now this stance still exists, more as an echo of the past differences, between the “purists” and the satsuki folks…. Deja vu all over again… Now it’s also becoming more of a matter of availability of decent stock.… and the shift to native trees…..making satsuki more of a niche bonsai. In fact the Japanese even created entirely separate exhibitions for azalea bonsai vs traditional bonsai.

That said, there are now many azalea bonsai that are styled in other traditional bonsai and unique free form designs, primarily to be enjoyed as bonsai that also flower for a couple weeks. The fact azalea flower as they do adds a whole layer of beauty to enjoying these trees.

Looking back at these comments all I have to say is…… Wow, I gotta cut back on the coffee!

cheers and enjoy your tree!
DSD sends
 

Kanorin

Chumono
Messages
581
Reaction score
961
Location
St. Louis, MO
USDA Zone
6a
To my eyes, this azalea is screaming "I want to be a cascade!"
Very cool cultivar.
 

rockm

Spuds Moyogi
Messages
11,297
Reaction score
15,836
Location
Fairfax Va.
USDA Zone
7
Having fun is a good thing in bonsai!

I concur with @rockm about wasting a good trunk. Converting to a raft design would take years to pull off successfully. You’d be better off honing what you have and looking around for a younger less expensive middling size mildly curvy tree and converting that into a more aesthetically pleasing slightly sinuous raft design. That would improve upon using this tree which would give you more of a straight raft.

In my experience I respectfully disagree with the thought of azalea bonsai as merely flower racks. There are satsuki specifically designed to be “Flower Towers”. In fact a read though Nakayama Suishio’s satsuki bonsai book reveals three quarters of the book is all about how to design different types of flower towers… in excruciating detail btw. . That’s because that’s where the most money is for many of the masters in Japan. (Very popular with the Yakuza btw). Also because in the history of bonsai azaleas… or more properly in Japan satsuki, came along way late in the game, around 1910. The reason this happened was decent bendable wire began to be manufactured then…. Thus azaleas could now be styled Into the traditional designs that were originally for conifers.

As late comers, these trees competed for the available dollars so there was a good deal of resentment between the competing bonsai masters. This lead some folks to adopt the stance that azaleas, even styled properly as bonsai , aren’t really “Bonsai”. (Gosh isn’t that a pervasive theme throughout history?). This went on through the years and now this stance still exists, more as an echo of the past differences, between the “purists” and the satsuki folks…. Deja vu all over again… Now it’s also becoming more of a matter of availability of decent stock.… and the shift to native trees…..making satsuki more of a niche bonsai. In fact the Japanese even created entirely separate exhibitions for azalea bonsai vs traditional bonsai.

That said, there are now many azalea bonsai that are styled in other traditional bonsai and unique free form designs, primarily to be enjoyed as bonsai that also flower for a couple weeks. The fact azalea flower as they do adds a whole layer of beauty to enjoying these trees.

Looking back at these comments all I have to say is…… Wow, I gotta cut back on the coffee!

cheers and enjoy your tree!
DSD sends
FWIW, I have heard -- and have no way of knowing first hand--that more than a few "regular" bonsai people in Japan jokingly consider azaleas not really bonsai, so as much as "divas" of the plant world. As far as I know, satsukis are not exhibited in big shows such as Kokufu or Taikan ten as bonsai. Of course they're not blooming in early spring/late winter or autumn when most of the big bonsai exhibitions happen. However, if they were judged as "bonsai" I would assume they'd be shows as bonsai when they're out of bloom. FWIW, I have absolutely no idea if any of what I just said is true. I just find it curious that it seems to be so. Azaleas have a separate set of shows during their blossom period in May/June though...
 

Deep Sea Diver

Masterpiece
Messages
2,407
Reaction score
4,617
Location
Bothell, WA
USDA Zone
8b
deja vu all over again…. battles over the almighty buck… pride… hubris… whatever… passed on over multiple generations... camouflaged as a part of the discipline not worthy of note…. IMHO its all one stylistic nonsense, but I don’t make a living selling bonsai. Perhaps then things would be a lot different. This all reminds me of a sea story from back in the day.

One day a young enlisted man came up to my boss, the Commanding Officer of a 400’ icebreaker, and asked him, “Sir, are you a real officer?” My boss, who had worked his way up through the ranks, starting off scrubbing the decks and all the other scut work junior enlisted folks do to eventually succeed at the highest professional level a Cutterman can achieve, chuckled and replied, “Yes, why do you ask?“. “Because, sir” the sailor said in a whisper, “I heard you never graduated from the Coast Guard Academy, so you can’t be a real officer.” …and the beat goes on.

I’ve had no more coffee today, but the sun is over the yardarm…!

cheers
DSD sends
 

Mapleminx

Omono
Messages
1,080
Reaction score
1,656
Location
Germany
USDA Zone
8
I quite liked the little trunk and would have been one of the crowd to cascade it, but it’s your tree and not mine so of course everyone has their own ideas and sometimes it’s fun to go the lesser trodden path.

I look forward to seeing how your plan develops over time. Very cute cultivar, me likey.👍
 

Rivian

Shohin
Messages
497
Reaction score
394
Location
Germany
USDA Zone
6
It has started moving, pic in a few days. I kinda expected it to flower in June but it might start as soon as next week
 

Mapleminx

Omono
Messages
1,080
Reaction score
1,656
Location
Germany
USDA Zone
8
It has started moving, pic in a few days. I kinda expected it to flower in June but it might start as soon as next week
I look forward to seeing the flowers! I won’t see any on mine this year but well I needed a hard prune.
 

Rivian

Shohin
Messages
497
Reaction score
394
Location
Germany
USDA Zone
6
Close to flowering. I think I will dig it up after the flowers finish and take off some rooted sections, since I have confirmed there are some rooted twigs.
Here's hoping all flower types will be present.
yumenew.jpg
 

Deep Sea Diver

Masterpiece
Messages
2,407
Reaction score
4,617
Location
Bothell, WA
USDA Zone
8b
From the bud coloration, your bloom should likely be fine.

If your goal is still a raft, I’d snip the blooming parts off after flowering, take each new branchlet set back to the longest one. Then lightly wire this single branchlet upwards.

This will give you a whole cadre of new trunks to choose from. Later this year or next you could begin trunk selection. At that time the culls can be used for new projects, whips, clumps or trad3 bait.

Justca thought.

cheers
DSD sends
 

Glaucus

Mame
Messages
225
Reaction score
327
Location
Netherlands
USDA Zone
7b
Colour-wise, this looks perfect. Shape-wise, not sure. Yumehanabi is a narrow thing petal sport of Kogetsu.
Since you buried this windswept bonsai last year with the goal to make it a raft-style, I do not see why you would dig it up this year. This soil still looks very fresh.
You want the trunk to layer roots so you can cut off the trunk and the original root ball?

If you bury an azalea branch, it will often produce roots all by itself spontaneously. Not sure if a full trunk does so on every cultivar.
Not sure what work you did on the original root ball. But I think you need at least two growing seasons worth of new root growth to try to get rid of the original root ball.
I would dig this one up in late winter or spring 2024. Then see how much roots it has. And then see if you can saw through the original trunk or not, finalizing the raft design.
One year very likely is not enough.

I would not try to take off branches that have rooted. If you just let it grow, see if you get some long shoots that you can root.
Horticultural, this is very viable. But I am assuming you want this specimen to be a good raft. And that you didn't bury it to try to layer roots on all branches of the windswept style. So that every branch can become a cutting.
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom