Growing runks for Mame/Shohin sized Azaleas?

Kai

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Growing trunks for Mame/Shohin sized Azaleas?

Hello

Take the normal twiggy plant you get at a gardencenter, how do you turn that into a trunk for a Shohin/Mame sized bonsai? Fusing it? Tie all the lower ones together leaving a "Crown" on top? Is it possible to "Grow out" a trunk? Any one with some examples, pics? Im really leaning towards Kyosuke Gun´s book about Azaleas, but for now?

Regards
Kai
 
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johng

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Shohin

Shohin bonsai from nursery material is reasonably easy. Rather than growing out the trunk like you suggest it is easier to buy material with an adequate trunk for the size tree you desire and then grow then grow the branches. Of course, this requires material that will bud back but you can create reasonably nice shohin bonsai in 5-10 years. Azalea is an excellent candidate for this technique. For example, I may purchase 3 gallon nursery material and cut it back to a 6" trunk which may or may not have branches after the cut back. It will bud back profusely allowing you to pick branches and begin there development at some point in the future.

John
 

Glider

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Yes, of all the trees to grow for shohin/mame, azalea has to be one of the best suited. They are basally dominant, so have no real tendency to grow tall anyway. You can let the lower branches of a short trunk shoot out as long as you can for a few years and the trunk will really bulk up (particularly in satsuki).

Further, as already mentioned, at any point you decide the trunk is ready, you can remove all the branches and the tree will bud back profusely on old wood.
 

FOX7591

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if u intertwined the twiggy trunks owuldnt it give u an old aged effect when they fusse together, not the graided way but messy so it looks more natural? i think it owuld look cool

also choose a nice runk and put it in the ground or something cause like he just said the stay small anyways so it night be easier to maintain in some shape too
 

Kai

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The "type" thats commonly used seems to be Zatsuki, what is the correct botanical name? Rhododendron Indicium? Where i live theres no Azaleas named "Zatsuki" whatsoever available. There any other sorts/variants suitable?
 

Glider

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Satsuki is a hybrid group. Kurume, Hyde, Robin Hill, Gabrielle Hill, Glen Dale etc., all these are hybrid groups. Within each hybrid group, there are many cultivars (cultivated variants). In the case of the Satsuki hybrid group, there are thousands of cultivars.

If you are looking for Satsukis, the problem is that nurseries don't usually label by hybrid group, but by cultivar, so you get names like Chinzan, Gumpo, Hibai, Nikko (all Satsukis). Then you can also have names like Iro Hayama, Hatsugiri and Izumi No Mai (all Kurume).

One way is to go for evergreen azaleas that are labelled with Japanese names. The chances are they will be either Satsuki or Kurume hybrids. If you want to be more specific, go to the nursery, write down the names and then look them up HERE. This site will show you what hybrid group each cultivar name belongs to.

You can bonsai essentially any azalea. Along with Satsuki and Kurume (both commonly used in bonsai) I have a number of azaleas that are neither. I have Hyde, Robin Hill, Gabrielle Hill, Aronense (satschiko), Kaempferi (torch azalea) and a North Tisbury. However, Satsukis tend to bulk up better and have nicer trunks. My Satsukis will be better bonsai sooner than my non-Satsuki hybrids.
 

Kai

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Excellent thank you, exactly what i needed to know :)
 

Glider

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You're welcome. Azaleas are excellent plants to work with in bonsai and very rewarding. Good luck with yours.
 

Kai

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What would this be?

"The development process for satsuki azaleas differs somewhat. We combine the traditional Japanese technique, designed to overcome the azalea's natural tendency to grow as a bush, with our use of special containers."



Im a bit curious, since there is some truth in this, i have litterally hundreds of cutting grown Elms, Malus, Larix and so on. But the Azaleas growthpattern is nothing like it really.. Growing from cuttings, how the hell do i get it to grow ONE trunk?.. It branches off into 5 new ultra thin shoots from every new node.. :)
 

Glider

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Im a bit curious, since there is some truth in this, i have litterally hundreds of cutting grown Elms, Malus, Larix and so on. But the Azaleas growthpattern is nothing like it really.. Growing from cuttings, how the hell do i get it to grow ONE trunk?.. It branches off into 5 new ultra thin shoots from every new node.. :)
Of the five, pick one as a leader (the strongest) and wire it whilst it is still bendable and let it go. The other shoots you can let go to thicken up the trunk.

It doesn't matter how untidy it looks. At this stage you only need to think about getting nice trunk line while you can still bend it. The rest of the shoots and any adventitious buds that break you can let go. Grow the low shoots sideways as long as possible. That'll thicken up the trunk quickly. You can remove them later by cutting them back to a short stub. New buds will break out and you can repeat the process until you're happy with the trunk.

When you are happy with the trunk, and if the tree is vigorous, you can remove all the branches in spring, cutting them back to stubs (which you should seal, to stop them dying back too far). The tree will put out lots of new shoots from everywhere, from which you can select the ones you want for branches.
 

Kai

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Thanks again glider, with the help of your earlier link i managed to get hold of 4 different Kurume garden plant Azaleas here. It seems that they are more hardy then the zatsuki so they are more available. Im planning on taking a bunch of shw cuttings as soon as they "ripe" and hopefully get a bunch of small ones to get started on in some years :) But i like to get the facts straight before i start :) And they are on 50% sale here now since they already start to bloom over, so i might buy a bunch just to start trying this out.
 

Attila Soos

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As Glider said, it is important to pick one trunk line and start shaping it as the main trunk. It is important that this trunk is much longer than the rest of the clump. As the trunk grows taller and taller, it becomes thicker than the rest of the clump, and a tree-like shape starts to develop.

But here is the problem: how do you grow the main trunk much taller than the rest, since all the multiple stems of the clump seem to grow to the same height? Yes, you can say "just cut the rest of the clump shorter", but by doing this, you are not really accelerating the growth of the main trunk, but just slowing down the growth of the rest of the plant.

But there is a way to accelerate the growth of the main trunk without slowing down the rest. By doing this, you can use all the growth available, and shorten the time of development.

The answer lies in the flower buds. Controlling the flower buds is the secret of growing the main trunk much faster than the rest.

Does anybody know how is this done?

(anybody who wants to know the answer, needs to contact me personally.. I take cashier's checks or money order :) )
 
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Rick Moquin

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Does anybody know how is this done?

(anybody who wants to know the answer, needs to contact me personally.. I take cashier's checks or money order :) )

Do not allow the trunk to set flower, remove the buds as they appear and no energy will be expended into producing the flowers, whilst allowing the other trunks to bloom. Because the other trunks expended allot of energy in flower maintenance, little is left for growth.

This particular energy balance technique is not restricted to azaleas, but the principles of energy re-direction can be applied to any tree. During the developmental phases allot of practitioners prevent their trees from blooming in favour of growth, and then alony allow them to bloom every couple of years.
 

Attila Soos

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Sorry Rick, wrong answer.

The technique I am talking about has nothing to do with energy balancing.

On a different note though, an energy re-balancing does take place, but this is not the topic of the technique that I am talking about.

Nice try, though, and it has some merits...:D
 
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chappy56

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Along these same lines; how soon after a repot can you cut back hard an Azalea? I recently repotted one and want to cut it back but was afraid after a root reduction just how far I could get away with cutting one back.
 

Graydon

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Does anybody know how is this done?

No. But...

Sentandome - removing terminal buds. Doing so disrupts a growth inhibiting hormone that prevents the development of dormant and adventitious buds. If properly carried out at the right time those buds will develop in to shoots and in turn branches. My use of the word "buds" refers to vegetative buds not flower buds.
 

Kai

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Thank you for the tips all, those are my first azaleas so i really whant to get it right. It takes enough time without having to redo stuff :) All help is truly appreciated :)

So this is what one should strive to get? Or should i strive to get more horizontal low braches to thicken the trunk furter down and improve taper? As a sidenote, i dont grow stuff larger then Shohin so this trunk lacks all movement and taper in the areas that are of interest for me.

And Attila, you are sucha teease... ;)

From http://www.telperionfarms.com
 
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Glider

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Does anybody know how is this done?

(anybody who wants to know the answer, needs to contact me personally.. I take cashier's checks or money order :) )
I've been given to understand (by Ken, my 'go to' guy for azaleas) that many growers in Japan don't allow azaleas to bloom at all until they approach the 'finished' stage, but that's to speed general development rather than a selected shoot. I just finished photographing the blooms on my most recent acquisitions so I don't forget what they look like before I let them bloom again (years from now).

I am intrigued though. It soulnds like an incredibly useful technique (also, a basic and necessary one, so I don't know why I never asked). I can only imagine it has something to do with timing; i.e. remove the embryonic flower buds on the chosen shoot the same year they form and remove the others the following spring as they begin to swell? That way, the terminal shoots should be ready to take off immediately in the spring and have all season to grow. But then, that's holding back the rest again....dammit!


*sigh*, ok, who do I make the cheque out to?
 

Kai

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(anybody who wants to know the answer, needs to contact me personally.. I take cashier's checks or money order :) )

I would consider it if you have som picks of this magic... I dont whant to buy the pig in the sack.. :D
 

Mooseman

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Come on Attila, spill the beans. You have piqued our interest, now you can let us in on this.:D
 

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