Help with Azalea styling

Roberts

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Hi,

I picked up this Azalea pre-bonsai over the winter (still have a couple months to go here in Iowa). It's 11" tall and has a 2 3/4" trunk. Was told its around 20 years old. Looks like two trees have fused together to make a twin trunk with 5 trunks/limbs? coming off the two. Having trouble deciding where to go with this one. Haven't been able to find any pics. of trees that look similar. i usually need a inspiration tree to help me get pointed in a direction. Would welcome any comments,suggestions,virts, or pictures.

Thanks Robert
 

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shohin kid

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In my opinion,
You should look at this like it is a grove or a small forest. This multi-trunk could be real nice once you get to work on it. Try and visualize the canopy like an isosceles triangle when shaping. Also get it into a rustic-like pot, but only after the tree is styled and "complete" (bonsai are never complete but what I mean is show quality I guess). You also need to start healing those scars

Now above are my opinions and you will get several, but in the end you will have to do what you think is right. I do have a question for you: What is this? Is it a satsuki, and if it is do you know the variety? It does not scream satsuki to me from your photos, but I could be wrong.

By the way, work should not be done this time of year.


Shohin Kid
 
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ml_work

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Hey Brian, I was wondering how the tree on the right was doing. I watched you style it at the Alabama Bonsai show in Bham last year. I compared it to the picture I took that day, it has done well.
Sorry for the interruption Roerts.

Cold N Bama
Michael
 

Brian Van Fleet

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It looks like a Satsuki, 'Chinzan'; a dwarf (and SLOW GROWING) variety with lance-like leaves and bright pink flowers in May/June, after the first flush of foliage growth appears. (Kurumes and Indicas bloom first, then grow)

The base looks great, and when you repot it, always comb out the roots so they spread radially, and remove everything under the base, and keep outward growth only. The base will continue to improve and yours has great potential. Repotting for satsukis is usually done after blooming.

Style it as a 5-trunk clump for now, creating some pads and space between branches so the flowers have room to bloom. In Japan, they almost style these like shimpakus or pines...we know they grow as shrubs naturally, but styling is usually done to show off flowers.

If you don't plan to repot it this year, feel free to work on it now, but don't do both in one year. It is best to remove all the blooms so the tree will put energy to growing foliage this spring if you do either.

Michael...the azalea on the right did great, but someone bought it last summer, so it's no longer with me and I haven't seen photos yet. Maybe the new owner is on the forum and they have a photo?
 

shohin kid

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The base looks great, and when you repot it, always comb out the roots so they spread radially, and remove everything under the base, and keep outward growth only. The base will continue to improve and yours has great potential. Repotting for satsukis is usually done after blooming.

Style it as a 5-trunk clump for now, creating some pads and space between branches so the flowers have room to bloom. In Japan, they almost style these like shimpakus or pines...we know they grow as shrubs naturally, but styling is usually done to show off flowers.

If you don't plan to repot it this year, feel free to work on it now, but don't do both in one year. It is best to remove all the blooms so the tree will put energy to growing foliage this spring if you do either.

This is all good advice. Although if you need to repot I suggest doing it in the spring (before flowering) , but do not let it flower that year. Flowering is the second biggest stress to an azalea, the first being bare rooting. Doing both in the same year is not healthy for the tree.

Shohin Kid
 

Roberts

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Thanks for the replies, greatly appreciate them.
Remember the seller saying it was Satsuki, don't think he mention the variety, but Brian might have it, because he did mention pink flowers, and the leaves are small and slender shaped.

Brain, I like the idea of branch pads, being only 11 inches tall (from soil) don't seem like that would leave much room for multiple branches with room between? This is my second Azalea so don't have much experience. I did pull the tree from the pot today to take look at the roots. It must have been root-pruned recently (last year?) as the roots spread outward from the base a few inches and were shallow, only in the top 1/3 of the 5" tall pot.

I do plan on removing the flower buds, maybe leaving one or two to see color and size.

I do not like the soil it's in now for my area (Iowa) it looks like potting soil. So if I re-pot it carefully removing the old soil without pruning the roots, should it be left alone this year or could I begin a little styling on it? How about the Kanuma (sp?) soil I've heard mention, good for Azalea's?

Robert
 

shohin kid

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because he did mention pink flowers, and the leaves are small and slender shaped.

I do not like the soil it's in now for my area (Iowa) it looks like potting soil. So if I re-pot it carefully removing the old soil without pruning the roots, should it be left alone this year or could I begin a little styling on it? How about the Kanuma (sp?) soil I've heard mention, good for Azalea's?

Just because the flowers are pink and there are slender leaves does not mean it is a chinzan. There are probably 50+ varieties that match that description. Please note that there are thousands of satsuki varieties. It could be chinzan, which is somewhat popular, but it could also be osakasuki, which is almost identical to chinzan.

Kanuma is fantastic for satsukis here in STL. Iowa is a little to the north so it could work out. I would leave it alone this year if you repot. Also since this is a work in progress, put it in a bigger pot that usual; it will develop faster. Since satsukis are feeder-root plants, I put yamagoki moss on top of the soil to keep the feeder roots moist. While working at a satsuki nursery over the summer I have seen the difference in the roots of the satsukis that have the moss and dont, and I am a firm believer in using it.

Hope this helped,
Shohin Kid
 

Brian Van Fleet

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The more you do to a tree in a season, the more you risk it's health. I don't like the fact that the roots didn't colonize the pot in the last growing season. If you want to repot it, use a shallower pot and coarser soil so you don't risk root-rot. Don't remove any roots...just replace the soil.

Kanuma is good no matter where you live; azaleas appreciate the acidity. It is porous and will dry out quicker than potting soil, so keep an eye on it. Finding the right soil is also a matter of matching it up with your watering habits. If you like watering every day, kanuma is great. If not, you can add some bark and lava rock which can extend periods between watering.

If you repot, remove most/all the flowers and just enjoy it this year while you contemplate the different fronts and possibilities for styling. Growing strongly means that next year you'll have more to work with when you do restyle, and it will be a healthier tree; more tolerant of the styling. If you have a hard time keeping your hands off it, it means you need more trees!!!:D
 

shohin kid

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I did some research on what styling you could do.

The Kabudachi style, (or sprout style).
"This is a style where many sprouts grow from a single stump. Each trunk should be different in height and size while having harmony. The entire appearance is natural and gives a genuine forest-like resemblance." From Japanese Satsuki Bonsai
 

Roberts

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I will re-pot it to get it in a more suitable soil mix. Will try some of the Kanuma. I do like to water (retired ya know:D) and my wife already thinks I have too many trees,ha.

i looked up the Kabudachi style and seems to fit this trees look. Got a year or so to think about it:). Would like to style so the trunk is emphasized as thats what drew me to this tree in the first place.

I did email the gentleman I got this tree from a he said it is Satsuki with the variety being Macrantha. I think Macrantha is a group that includes Osakazuki that Shohing Kid mention. Said it has medium pink flowers. Will leave a couple buds on to take a look see.

Thanks, Robert
 

noissee

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I like the grove idea. beacause this is azalea, it doesn't necessarily need to look like a realistic tree.
 

DaveV

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Hi Roberts, where abouts in Iowa are you. Do you belong to the Iowa Bonsai Association? I live in Iowa too.
 

Roberts

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hi Dave,

Live in the Quad Cities overlooking the "big creek" (Mississippi River:D).

Robert
 

Roberts

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This is all good advice. Although if you need to repot I suggest doing it in the spring (before flowering) , but do not let it flower that year. Flowering is the second biggest stress to an azalea, the first being bare rooting. Doing both in the same year is not healthy for the tree.

Shohin Kid

Is it best to pinch the flower buds off at the same time of re-potting or wait till they start to swell then remove them.

Thanks, Robert
 

Brian Van Fleet

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If you're going to remove them, do it earlier rather than later. No point in allowing the tree to expend any energy on flower buds if you're just going to remove them.
 

noissee

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Is this one you got from Tom? It looks sort of similar to other Azaleas he has. I think he does a pretty good job growing a nice base.
 

Roberts

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Is this one you got from Tom? It looks sort of similar to other Azaleas he has. I think he does a pretty good job growing a nice base.

Hi,
Yes, This is one I picked up from Tom down your way. The trunk really caught my eye. Wish I'd had more room (and money:() to bring back a few more. Did you get over to check him out?

Robert
 

roelex14

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hi Dave,

Live in the Quad Cities overlooking the "big creek" (Mississippi River:D).

Robert

I live in Milan... (not really "IN" Milan, but i guess thats what my address says:p)
Where do you get your material? collected or what? ...just curious)
 

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