Question about Satsuki Azalea from Eastern Leaf

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When it arrived it could not have been better or more securely packaged. It arrived in perfect condition. My question, though, has to do with the soil they have it potted in. As you can see from the photos, it is growing nicely; however, I found that the soil is packed so hard that I cannot penetrate it with a chopstick. Should I be concerned? Is there anything I should do? Or should I just leave it alone until repotting next spring?
 

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Paradox

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I will second what Leo stated.

When you water, make sure the water does penetrate into the soil and not just run off the top and try not to wash the soil away.
So a gentle spray should work fine.

Looks like a nice lil azalea
 

0soyoung

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I'll call b.s. on that 'wait until spring' stuff.

I'll also note to you @mlmcdonald that azalea roots are a very dense matt of fine hairs. They very quickly become so dense that it is hard to poke anything into/through them. If it is vigorous/healthy and the pot drains well, all is well - it doesn't need to be repotted.

If you decide to repot it, azaleas take well to repotting this time of year as well as immediately following flowering. Satsuki have an unusual pattern of growing before flowering which relatively few azalea varieties do (others may leaf before flowering, but they don't extend new growth like satsuki does). This new growth comes from buds below the terminal flower buds in spring. You can repot at these vegetative buds swell or after they have paused and the flower buds are getting quite fat, immediately after flowering, or after the post-flowering growth has extended (now).

Regardless of when you choose to do it, you can literally saw off the bottom third to half of the root plug and you can also saw off some of the perimeter so that it will have some room to grow (radially) when put back into the same pot. You can also or instead, cut out wedges of the root pad around the trunk. Just don't get all excited with a root hook, yanking away the mat of roots until all you've got left are the pipelines running back to the trunk.
 

Carol 83

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I got an azalea from them this spring and I understand your concern. I considered repotting after it flowered because the soil does seem dense. However, it has done fine and is flourishing, absorbs water instead of running off. I plan on repotting next spring after flowering. Which one did you get? I got the "Red Ruby Gem" it has really tiny leaves and although I was hesitant buying it, I'm pretty pleased with it.ruby red flowers.jpgruby red.jpg
 
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Paradox

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I am going to call BS on repotting it now where the OP lives

Where @0soyoung lives, the high temperatures for the next few days is forecast to be from the mid 60s to low 70s so yes he can probably repot now.

He tends to forget that he lives in a much milder climate than many others do and he can get away with doing some things at times that others can't.

Where you live @mlmcdonald, the high temperatures in the next few days is forecast to reach 100 degrees. Repotting it in those temperatures will probably be a death sentence.

Wait until spring.
 

Ruddigger

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Eastern Leaf uses terrible soil. I would repot when the weather starts to stay cooler. Late September/Octoberish.
 

Paradox

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When it is below 70F.
That's the important thing, right?

When it's not going to be 90+ degrees. Repotting with those temperatures will most likely kill the tree. That is the important thing.

What else is important is that the tree is healthy and it's not under any stress.
There isn't some emergency situation that needs intervention so it does not need to be repotted now.
 
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Maiden69

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I was reading a transcript from the Peter Warren Mirai repot video, he said that there are several times that you "could" repot, but that late winter/early spring is the best time, with after flowering early summer being second. If the soil is holding water I would wait till then.
 

0soyoung

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When it's not going to be 90+ degrees. Repotting with those temperatures will most likely kill the tree. That is the important thing.
90F-ish won't kill a tree. Touching the roots when the temperature happens to be 90F-ish won't kill it either. When the temp is 90F+, the rate of photosynthesis is maxed out, whereas the rate of burning carbon (metabolism) is outpacing it, so there is little free carbohydrate to support any growth. Having the temperature 90F+ during all of the daylight hours could indeed be a problem in places like Phoenix, Palm Springs, for example, but certainly not in NY, MI, or Roseville, CA.

Still, photosynthesis is proceeding as long as there is sunlight. What isn't immediately metabolized in the leaves is loaded into the phloem pipeline along with auxin that can stimulate root growth. Roots need lower temperatures for optimal growth, but they will be watered and cooler immediately after repotting and will remain cooler as long as the substrate is damp. Further, roots can even grow overnight. They just need the auxin and carbohydrates in the phloem pipeline.

There isn't some emergency situation that needs intervention so it does not need to be repotted now.
I think I said that too.
If it is vigorous/healthy and the pot drains well, all is well - it doesn't need to be repotted.
 

Paradox

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I will not advocate someone repot a tree in 90+ weather when it does not absolutely need it. I also will not agree that it is safe to do.

Why? Because with very few exceptions, trees die when repotted in extreme heat. We have seen it happen over and over.

The weather for his/her area is forecasting daytime temperatures over 95 degrees for 6 out of the next 7 days. There is nothing magical about Roseville or NY or anywhere else that miraculously changes tree physiology and makes them bulletproof. You repot a tree in my area in thst kind of heat it very shortly becomes a dead tree.

I would rather give this person advice so that they have the best chance to succeed and continue in the hobby. Not kill his/her tree and get discouraged and quit.

I am done arguing with you about it.
I do not believe repotting in 90+ degree weather is anything but very risky to the tree.
I will not advise someone to do it to an otherwise healthy tree, ever
 

Toche

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With time, it often happens that the surface of the substrate is too compact.
While waiting for repotting, you can aerate the surface of the substrate with a small claw.
In this way, water will penetrate more easily the root ball.

I hope you can understand me. 😟
 
Messages
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With time, it often happens that the surface of the substrate is too compact.
While waiting for repotting, you can aerate the surface of the substrate with a small claw.
In this way, water will penetrate more easily the root ball.

I hope you can understand me. 😟
I understood you as your English is perfect.
 

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