My 1st Azalea is a semi-evergreen. Bronzed leaves, now what?

Japonicus

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This truly is my 1st azalea, for landscape or bonsai either way.
I'm zone 6, the bottom of the hardiness zone for the Hot Shot azalea I got last year,
so the leaves are responding accordingly, as it sat on the ground in pot as is
unprotected against the foundation.

DSC_7500.JPGDSC_7501.JPGDSC_7502.JPG
Do I need to be removing any leaves at this point? Many have fallen on their own, and most that remain
are still alive, or have a strong hold. I was told by a BN member to remove all these leaves...I don't think so, but is why I'm asking.
We're coming upon the end of my 1st year with this plant, as it was in full bloom when I bought it probably last May.

I suppose this is a hybrid (azalea x 'Girards Hot Shot'). What does that mean for its horticultural practices as a bonsai plant?
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I’d leave them alone. Looks like it got colder than it wanted to for sure. I have found frozen soil and full sun to be a bad combo for evergreen bonsai as leaves can desiccate. It does have some new growth appearing, so give it a couple months and see what it gives you.
 

Deep Sea Diver

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Decidedly frost bit. Not sure if a lace bug attack helped contribute to the damage. Bursting cells tend to erase evidence, but just in case look at the bottom of the leaves and see if there are little black specks on them. If so, treat for lacebugs.

Folks say to add a couple usda plant hardiness zones for a potted azaLea. I’m more inclined to add at least 15F to the top value of the lowest USDA zone and insulate the roots to boot.

Future is a bit iffy,

Usually what happens is that azaleas with all that much leaf damage end up getting root rot as folks try to ensure the plant gets plenty of water…. Exactly the opposite of what it needs now. A leaf damaged tree can’t transpire much and the roots suffer from low O2.

Same for fertilizing - skip that for at least 3 months.

And also for light. Find a heavily dappled sunlight or bright shade spot with no full sun to put this sick plant in.

With luck, the tree will begin to back bud.

best of luck!
DSD sends
 

Japonicus

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Decidedly frost bit. Not sure if a lace bug attack helped contribute to the damage. Bursting cells tend to erase evidence, but just in case look at the bottom of the leaves and see if there are little black specks on them. If so, treat for lacebugs.

Folks say to add a couple usda plant hardiness zones for a potted azaLea. I’m more inclined to add at least 15F to the top value of the lowest USDA zone and insulate the roots to boot.

Future is a bit iffy,

Usually what happens is that azaleas with all that much leaf damage end up getting root rot as folks try to ensure the plant gets plenty of water…. Exactly the opposite of what it needs now. A leaf damaged tree can’t transpire much and the roots suffer from low O2.

Same for fertilizing - skip that for at least 3 months.

And also for light. Find a heavily dappled sunlight or bright shade spot with no full sun to put this sick plant in.

With luck, the tree will begin to back bud.

best of luck!
DSD sends
Well I am not into finicky plants. Adding 15ºF adds more finickiness beyond my desire.
Thank you DSD for your reply. In the picture with random leaves I do see black spots,
but more like black spot on rose leaves. I will check underneath leaves tomorrow and move
to a more shady spot. Dappled light is not in my cards.

It sounds like I should plant this into the landscape if it recovers.
Have you any input on timeline for that, if I go that route?
Root care, soil amendment etc.
I may not be able to meet the light needs of this plant in ground.
 

Paradox

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Are you not able to provide some protection from the cold wind/freezing for these?
You could have just mulched it in and had it fare better.
Anything that is just left out unprotected is at some risk
 

Deep Sea Diver

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Well I am not into finicky plants. Adding 15ºF adds more finickiness beyond my desire.
Thank you DSD for your reply. In the picture with random leaves I do see black spots,
but more like black spot on rose leaves. I will check underneath leaves tomorrow and move
to a more shady spot. Dappled light is not in my cards.

It sounds like I should plant this into the landscape if it recovers.
Have you any input on timeline for that, if I go that route?
Root care, soil amendment etc.
I may not be able to meet the light needs of this plant in ground.
This azalea isn’t all that finicky, and has awesome flowers, it just is on the top edge for your zone when in a pot, ok in the landscape.That means it needs protection as a bonsai. Burying the pot in the ground with mulch atop and beneath with wind and protection from full sun during the. winter would likely make it viable. In the landscape it should do well, yet will require partial sun and standard azalea winter care (mulching)

That said I’ll bet the roots were partially frozen too, so the azalea is in ER status. If you can get it this azalea to come back, then it will need planting in a good area with prevailing wind protection.

I plant all my landscape azaleas in a mix of 50/20/20/10 small bark/peat/native soil/manure or compost atop the normal soil level as ours soil has lots of clay, so percolation isn’t great. If you have the red clay soil like we did when I lived in the Quantico area, you might want to do the same. I grew plenty of azaleas there and an acquaintance of mine, Richard Antony grew thousands of them, including many satsuki, at their Former Long Mountain Nursery in Rappahannock County in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Good luck and please keep us posted!
cheers
DSD sends
 

Japonicus

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Are you not able to provide some protection from the cold wind/freezing for these?
You could have just mulched it in and had it fare better.
Anything that is just left out unprotected is at some risk
Sure I could mulch it, but it looks like healing into the ground would be more accurate protection
than mulching it. I can provide good wind protection with the rest of my conifers, good air flow, but not
good light for the Winter. I do wish now that I had put it in the cave with the other plants to see
how it faired compared to no protection.
 

Japonicus

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protection from full sun during the. winter
The lack of, probably compounded the issue at hand.
They do quite well in local landscapes, long lived.
I thought that was freedom.

If it comes through I will indeed heal it in and mulch it in the current pot it's in I suppose
for next Winter. Being in ER status ATM, I probably should not lift the root ball out of the can for a look, rather keep
it in the current pot another year you think?
 

Paradox

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Sure I could mulch it, but it looks like healing into the ground would be more accurate protection
than mulching it. I can provide good wind protection with the rest of my conifers, good air flow, but not
good light for the Winter. I do wish now that I had put it in the cave with the other plants to see
how it faired compared to no protection.

Yes healing onto the ground with a pile of mulch around the trunk and branches to protect them would be better.

The cave(??), might be the best option but not sure what youre referring to
 

Japonicus

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Yes healing onto the ground with a pile of mulch around the trunk and branches to protect them would be better.

The cave(??), might be the best option but not sure what youre referring to
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Under our sunroom on the N side of the house. I call this "the cave". I used to also use mulch, but having had termite
activity in this location, and under the house, but not in, I've decided to quit using mulch.

And when I say heeling in, I do mean into, not onto the ground. All my bonsai used to get heeled into the ground
until we got the sunroom and ran out of room and after I surpassed 2 dozen projects, it just became history for that chore.
I really thought that the close relationship to the rhododendron, our state flower, and how azalea are long lived
around here, that it was safe unprotected, but I was wrong.
There's a very small leafed variety of Japanese boxwood I love, but pretty sure it's zone 7, so I have left it alone.
 

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View attachment 427423
View attachment 427428
Under our sunroom on the N side of the house. I call this "the cave". I used to also use mulch, but having had termite
activity in this location, and under the house, but not in, I've decided to quit using mulch.

And when I say heeling in, I do mean into, not onto the ground. All my bonsai used to get heeled into the ground
until we got the sunroom and ran out of room and after I surpassed 2 dozen projects, it just became history for that chore.
I really thought that the close relationship to the rhododendron, our state flower, and how azalea are long lived
around here, that it was safe unprotected, but I was wrong.
There's a very small leafed variety of Japanese boxwood I love, but pretty sure it's zone 7, so I have left it alone.


I understand what heeling in is, just did not remember your "cave". Also can relate to the more trees= more work to do stuff thing.

Id try the azalea tight up against the foundation in one of those corners made by the stacked blocks and put other things tight against the azalea for as much of a wind break you can give it and see how it does there. Hopefully that open side isnt too exposed to potential winds

Im probably as cold as you if not colder in the winter. My azalea go into my coldframe against the north side of my house but its walled on all 4 sides and i cover it with 4'x4' sheets of pvc when it gets below 30 as an added precaution
 

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If it comes through I will indeed heal it in and mulch it in the current pot it's in I suppose
for next Winter. Being in ER status ATM, I probably should not lift the root ball out of the can for a look, rather keep
it in the current pot another year you think?
It’s a toss up. Knowing my own level of curiosity, it’s highly likely I’d take a look, just to see if the media was mushed up or not!

best
DSD sends
 

shinmai

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Lifting it out of the nursery pot to take a look at the roots won’t hurt it a bit. It’s the first thing I do when I bring a nursery plant home.
The leaf curl, in the absence of an identifiable fungus or bacterial blight, is indicative of a cold injury. The best indication of whether you have a survivable plant is whether the ends of the branchlets are flexible or brittle. if the ends snap off when you bend them, they’ve died back. If so, you can try cutting back into the branching to see if you can find green. The only reason to remove dead leaves at this point is so that you can tell if more leaves are continuing to die off. Personally, I think zone 6 gets too cold for azaleas in pots to winter outside. I’m in zone 5, and all my azaleas, whether landscape domestics or Japanese imports, go into a greenhouse with a space heater and thermostat set to 37 degrees.
Another big danger for azaleas or rhododendrons wintered outside is bark split, which is the result of the sequence of dormancy, warm spell that wakes them up and gets water moving, and then a hard freeze. The outer bark and cambium can split like frozen pipes in your house. I don’t see that in your photos though.
 

Japonicus

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Lifting it out of the nursery pot to take a look at the roots won’t hurt it a bit. It’s the first thing I do when I bring a nursery plant home.
The leaf curl, in the absence of an identifiable fungus or bacterial blight, is indicative of a cold injury. The best indication of whether you have a survivable plant is whether the ends of the branchlets are flexible or brittle. if the ends snap off when you bend them, they’ve died back. If so, you can try cutting back into the branching to see if you can find green. The only reason to remove dead leaves at this point is so that you can tell if more leaves are continuing to die off. Personally, I think zone 6 gets too cold for azaleas in pots to winter outside. I’m in zone 5, and all my azaleas, whether landscape domestics or Japanese imports, go into a greenhouse with a space heater and thermostat set to 37 degrees.
Another big danger for azaleas or rhododendrons wintered outside is bark split, which is the result of the sequence of dormancy, warm spell that wakes them up and gets water moving, and then a hard freeze. The outer bark and cambium can split like frozen pipes in your house. I don’t see that in your photos though.
There are live green and bronzed leaves at the terminals. I mean each leaf is both colours.
Most leaves that remain (have not fallen) have a stronghold.

Where I grew up
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we had landscape and wild rhododendrons 13' tall 2 deep, bordering a wall.
The wild state flower ones are behind the wall, over the hill a few feet lower, and stand 13' tall.
The leaves curl at a particular temperature I forget, but in the teens, tighter and tighter the colder it gets as protection.
Nearing 0ºF they curl up tight almost like a straw.
We've had seriously cold temperatures where a snow would last for over a month.
The frost line for our water lines is 30 some inches.
For this neck of the woods, that's long lived. Just 4 or 5 yrs ago we had -18ºF.
I've never seen any type of frozen tissue damage, and we run quite the transitional Spring gambit of weathers.
30-40º swings are common place. For the highs one day this week it was 28º, two days later it hits 85ºF.

I will approach Winters differently with this one, as it looks like it's going to pull through.
I have a phone pic I will upload if it's helpful at all.
 

Japonicus

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I dont know how well these 2 pics portray the life that is evident with new growth interiorly, and i dont know whether this new growth is flower buds or leaf buds, but will know soon I'm sure, maybe both. 20220401_161245.jpg20220401_161230.jpg
I need to remove a few small twigs down low and few twigs out of sorts on branches.
 

Carol 83

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I dont know how well these 2 pics portray the life that is evident with new growth interiorly, and i dont know whether this new growth is flower buds or leaf buds, but will know soon I'm sure, maybe both. View attachment 428055View attachment 428056
I need to remove a few small twigs down low and few twigs out of sorts on branches.
👏 Yay!
 

Japonicus

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Yep, it still has life in it! A couple months of TLC and the azalea should have regained most of its strength.

Best

DSD sends
I hope so :)
Actually thought that was evident in the 2nd pic 1st post.
Last pic does show more movement in the buds. Looks like leaves unfurling.
I think Sun-wise, that this should do well in the same light most JM will.
Probably a little more light since I do see them around town in full Sun.
 

Deep Sea Diver

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Might want to hold off on full sun until the tree fully recovers. Perhaps it would be wise to let the tree get its full set of summer leaves hardened off and assess the situation then. Recall that an azalea in the pot is both more heat and cold susceptible then in the ground. The roots like to be cool.

Your idea of keeping the azalea with the maples is a good one, more shade for now.

Azaleas in full sun tends to be susceptible to Lace bugs etc and that wouldn’t good thing for it now.

Best
DSD sends
 

Japonicus

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Might want to hold off on full sun until the tree fully recovers. Perhaps it would be wise to let the tree get its full set of summer leaves hardened off and assess the situation then. Recall that an azalea in the pot is both more heat and cold susceptible then in the ground. The roots like to be cool.

Your idea of keeping the azalea with the maples is a good one, more shade for now.

Azaleas in full sun tends to be susceptible to Lace bugs etc and that wouldn’t good thing for it now.

Best
DSD sends
Thanks I'm keeping it on the N side of the house, where I Winter my Mt Maple.

I lifted it from the can today. I am not happy with the visual roots, but again, this is my 1st azalea.
The roots I see are like cob webs, and it appears to have been up potted in recent history, maybe 3 yrs ago and that's
probably very normal. It wouldn't take much to unearth the roots and reduce.
I don't think I would call to mucked up, or mushy, but is rather soft. It's like I could massage it bare root by hand.
Visual...
DSC_7510.JPG

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@Deep Sea Diver it seems I remember you saying in one thread that the branchlets should be cut flush
if not concave a little. This branch I left a stub on last year or someone before more I don't recall,
but how would you approach this area for a cleaner future?
 

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