Pine needles for my Azalea?

Chub

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Going to be putting my Azalea in a grow box tomorrow. Was reading that they like the acidity that pine needles provide. Would it do any good to mix them in with the soil I'll be using?
 

Harunobu

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The mix I recommend for azalea in non-bonsai pots is 1-1-1 coarse peat, perlite, shredded bark. Pine needles are organic material of course.
 

Dav4

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Going to be putting my Azalea in a grow box tomorrow. Was reading that they like the acidity that pine needles provide. Would it do any good to mix them in with the soil I'll be using?

What is "the soil" you'll be using?
 

Chub

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Just your basic generic potting mix from Lowes. Contains vermiculite, peat etc.........
 

treebeard55

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As long as the pieces are coarse, I can't think any reason not to. Not sure I'd go to the trouble, but, hey, it's your azalea. ;)
 

Tim_T

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I have heard that pine needles make a good mulch for ground grown Azaleas. I'm not sure how appropriate it would be for Azaleas in a grow box though.
 

Chub

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Boxed it up using just potting soil. Which after further review I'm not too crazy about. I think it may hold too much moisture. Felt o.k. in the bag but once we got a little rain the soil just felt too heavy. I'd like to redo it. Should I replant it now with a different mix or let it be for a while? Also, I took a couple inches of depth off of the roots and loosned them up a bit (was pretty nervous about doing that)..lol.
 

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Harunobu

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Not having the most ideal potting mix isn't a problem in itself.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Good job, nice box. Now the hard part: leave it alone for a few years. Remember, the whole purpose of growing in boxes is to get a tree growing strong.
 

Chub

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Good job, nice box. Now the hard part: leave it alone for a few years. Remember, the whole purpose of growing in boxes is to get a tree growing strong.

Thanks....So the soil is good enough then?
 

treebeard55

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Tim, pine needles make a good mulch for just about anything. They tend not to pack down even when wet for a long time.

Chub, if it were me, and I were seriously concerned about the quality of the soil, and if less than 24 hours had passed, I would probably take the chance on a second repotting, with as little root disturbance as possible.

That's me. You have to decide what to do for your tree.
 
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Brian Van Fleet

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Thanks....So the soil is good enough then?

It's not ideal, but you should be fine. Let it dry out a little between watering. Keep it growing strong with as few disturbances as possible so the roots get a chance to really grow and fill the pot quickly.
 

Chub

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Mixed in a decent amount of pine needles/bark bits. Did it without removing the plant/tree. That should keep the soil a bit looser.
 

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Harunobu

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Azalea are strong plants. They shouldn't die just because they are a year in not ideal potting soil.

But what kills azalea most of the time is overwatering. So during periods with a lot of rain moving it in cover will help.

That's all I can say. I can't say if your plant is 70% safe or 98% safe.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Azalea are strong plants. They shouldn't die just because they are a year in not ideal potting soil.

But what kills azalea most of the time is overwatering. So during periods with a lot of rain moving it in cover will help.

That's all I can say. I can't say if your plant is 70% safe or 98% safe.

However, only giving it one year in a box defeats the purpose of overpotting it in the first place...time to stop playing with the tree and leave it to grow for a while...like 3-4 years, then up to a bigger box with better soil for another 3-4 years.
 

Chub

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.....time to stop playing with the tree and leave it to grow for a while...like 3-4 years, .

I knew that was coming:eek:...lol. It's all set and staying as is for at least a few years. Thanks for the help/advice.

Another question. While it's in the box do I continue to prune or just let it go?

Harunobu...It's under a huge spruce which blocks quite a bit of the rain. And it also provides the ideal lighting conditions. Just a few feet out of the reach of the dog...lol.
 

Harunobu

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Prune off branches that get so big they compete with the trunk or get so large they will make scars too big.

Why would you want to prune any more? The less leaves on a tree, the less energy it can produce.
 

Chub

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Why would you want to prune any more? The less leaves on a tree, the less energy it can produce.

I was under the impression that it would make it thicken up quicker.
 

Harunobu

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Pruning will slow down and adjust the way it is growing. And since you are growing the trunk right now and not the branches, pruning will only do something if you prune to the mere skeleton. But seriously pruning will also seriously slow down how fast it will grow. It will only do something if otherwise it will thicken up the wrong, or less than ideal, way.
 
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