Satsuki Azalea Fall Work?

Dav4

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In the last 6 months, I've acquired 5 satsukis. In that time, I've strived to compile as much info on developing and maintaining them as bonsai. With that said, I was under the impression that most if not all work on satsukis should be carried out during spring/summer when they are breaking dormancy or actively growing. Is this true, or are there things(pruning of various types, etc) that can or should be done in the fall? I ask because of a reference I heard recently to a workshop with Dave Kreutz on satsuki fall work. Thanks for any info,

Dave
 

Bill S

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New on me Dave, everything I've heard has been work at this point is done, getting it ready for winter storage is about it, cleanup etc..

Thing is there was someone who frequented the board and was a student of this guys (Dave Kreutz), and the kid was very psyched on him and his azaleas. Apparently the guy has been dedicated to azaleas and knows them very well. You know what they say about using local knowledge to answer your bonsai questions.

Have you settled in to the new digs? Hopefully your move has been a positive experiance.

Bill
 
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Fall pruning would likely not hurt a thing... the latent flower buds would be lost, but if you want to give your tree a rest from all that reproductive activity, then you'd gain by having no energy wasted on it. As you know, the main goal around the timing of satsuki work is to maximize the flowering.

I'm interested to see what happens with mine next year... there are things I did the first year that yielded a complete bloom the second. And when I say complete, I mean it... there wasn't a visible scrap of green on it when it was blooming this year. I handeled it a little differently this year because of that big bloom period, with more traditional scheduling. If it doesn't yield as high a bloom next year, I'll do what I did before. Which is to say light root work, and modest pruning about the end of March. It made for few blossoms that first year, but giving it a year off was likely a plus. As well as all that positive root energy as it was growing first year. It set a complete crown of flower buds waiting to open by late that fall. This year, it looks like I have no flower buds already set. So I think my accidental discovery will indeed become it's rythm. Time will tell. Needless to say, I have other satsuki growers in my area waiting to know how it turns out. Many of them don't get the same level of bloom I got from mine.

But then again, my satsuki is a little weird... it doesn't like to bloom until well into June.:rolleyes:

The attached photo is from early in it's bloom this year. I never got a chance to photograph it when it was completely nuts. lol But you can imagine where it was headed.


Kindest regards,

Victrinia
 

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Dav4

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Thanks for the replies, Bill and Vic. Vic, love the azalea. I find all the info about the pruning techniques involved with satsukis, from development to show ready tree, a bit overwhelming, not unlike the energy balancing techniques of candling and needle plucking associated with pine bonsai (I'm getting a hang of that, I think). Anyway, I probably will play around with these trees for a bit, nothing drastic, until I feel more comfortable with them. Thanks again,

Dave
 
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I'm also used to working on Daniel's azaleas which are freaks of nature. They almost never get re-potted... all we do is dead head them at the end of the flower season, and do some light pruning... feed them miracle grow once a week... and they bloom like there is no tomorrow year after year. Crazy.
 

Attila Soos

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I'm also used to working on Daniel's azaleas which are freaks of nature. They almost never get re-potted... all we do is dead head them at the end of the flower season, and do some light pruning... feed them miracle grow once a week... and they bloom like there is no tomorrow year after year. Crazy.

Talking about re-potting, this is an interesting observation. I have a large and old azalea, similar to the size that you just posted (probably a little larger). I was wondering whether I should re-pot it the coming spring. The last re-pot was two years ago, and usually I re-pot it every two years. But I would love to make it 3 years if possible.

So, Victrinia, you are saying that there would be no problem to leave it grow 3 years in the same soil?
 

Kirk

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Hi Dave,

The Atlanta club has some guys that are very good with satsuki. One member had a tree in the National Collection. They would be a good resource. Also, Steve Pilacik (Durham, NC area) and Joe Harris (Boring, OR) have quite a bit of experience with them and are near our GA zone. Steve was very friendly and approachable at last month's meeting. He probably wouldn't mind fielding questions.

Kirk
 

Dav4

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Hey Kirk. Thanks for the info. I sent in my ABS membership application last month...finally:), so I'm looking forward to bending peoples ear on growing trees locally. Thanks for mentioning Steve Pilacik. I met him at the Expo in Asheville, NC. in October...he had an azalea in the show that was truly world class. I was sorry to miss his workshop last month. I'm hoping to make the next meeting.

Dave
 
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Talking about re-potting, this is an interesting observation. I have a large and old azalea, similar to the size that you just posted (probably a little larger). I was wondering whether I should re-pot it the coming spring. The last re-pot was two years ago, and usually I re-pot it every two years. But I would love to make it 3 years if possible.

So, Victrinia, you are saying that there would be no problem to leave it grow 3 years in the same soil?

Atilla... Sorry I missed seeing this sooner... :)

A satsuki would not suffer in the least to go 3 years. I think people repot too often frankly. There are times when it's helpful, but not if you already have a well established tree which isn't needing juvenile energy to develop structure. Daniel always mumbles about never killing trees by not repotting, and while I don't perfectly agree with him, I do agree that sometimes marvelous stasis can be gained by not.

If a tree starts to look like its getting weak, then I get him to repot it, and it gets all juvenile and happy again. But we're talking older established trees which may have gone 15+ years between "dubious root tampering", as he's fond of calling it.

But then again... it's important to remember he regards a lush crown as the ultimate contridiction of the age and esthetic he's trying to portray... so I don't know that I'd recommend this form of action for someone longing for a green helmut. ;)

Personally, I'll be working on my satsuki's roots this coming year, but only because I'm trying to get it lower in it's pot... and it won't be a complete root reduction, just a lowering of the rootball to get it more settled into it's pot.

Hope this helps...

Victrinia
 

Attila Soos

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A satsuki would not suffer in the least to go 3 years. I think people repot too often frankly. There are times when it's helpful, but not if you already have a well established tree which isn't needing juvenile energy to develop structure. Daniel always mumbles about never killing trees by not repotting, and while I don't perfectly agree with him, I do agree that sometimes marvelous stasis can be gained by not.

Great... and what you are saying makes a lot of sense. It's good to hear a confirmation of what I tended to believe as well.
 

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