Trunk chopping azalea

Adair M

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I've done it beforehand as well, but you'll sacrifice the blooms.
Some say that doing it before (or similarly, removing all flower buds) will provide more foliar growth than you would get with flowers.....I dont know if its true.
The earlier the better if you want growth! And, yes, sacrifice having blooms if you want growth. In Japan, when they’re developing those fat trimmed azalea, they don’t let them bloom for a decade!
 

Shibui

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As Adair said. Don't let flowers distract you from developing a good bonsai. Short term loss for quicker long term gains.
My climate is different but I've found that I can bare root and do radical root reduction as well as trunk reduction any time of year. Response is quicker in the growing season, even mid summer.
 

0soyoung

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Some say that doing it before (or similarly, removing all flower buds) will provide more foliar growth than you would get with flowers.....I dont know if its true.
Flower buds = vegetative buds gone wild!
Generally, the metamorphosis occurs sometime after the summer solstice - they can be seen and picked/sheared off then as once they've changed, they never go back. If, in summer/fall you see some shoots extending and some not, the one's not extending probably have set a flower but at the tip - cut if off ASAP if you are alarmed about the prospect of carbohydrates being expended maturing the flower bud. But, as I said, just shear it again in fall and you're done!
 

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The earlier the better if you want growth! And, yes, sacrifice having blooms if you want growth. In Japan, when they’re developing those fat trimmed azalea, they don’t let them bloom for a decade!
How late or rather when is the optimum time to cut the flower buds?
 

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Shohin
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As soon as you see them. They produce hormones that diverts the energy from growing foliage to making flowers. The sooner you remove the buds, the more growth you’ll get!
Thanks Adair, I thought if you cut them as soon as they were apparent the tree may try to push more flower buds and therefore waste more energy.
 

Adair M

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Thanks Adair, I thought if you cut them as soon as they were apparent the tree may try to push more flower buds and therefore waste more energy.
No, what happens is the branch pushes growth for a few inches, and then sets flower buds. If you trim off the tip, new growth will start from the buds at the base of the leaves on that twig. They’ll grow a couple inches, and then stop growing to produce flower buds. After the second time, the tree is probably pretty leggy, so it’s time to cut back hard. Then, new buds will form, and you can start all over again! This really accelerates development. If you stop to let it flower, you lose a lot of growing time!
 
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I don't care about the flowers at this point. I care about growth and development. I didn't know if there was some magical reason that you have to wait until after blooming to do work on azaleas, other than tradition. So, I'll commence to chopping and bare rooting, pot it up in straight kanuma, and put it right back out in the sun. No ferts for a month or so. Then let it grow unhindered this first season. Maybe some wire on new shoots.
 

JudyB

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So I thought it was a timing thing, as far as repotting later in the year than spring. So if flowers are not what you're after, then repotting in spring is still the best time? I have a couple that need to get out of Brussel soil. Also I have one leggy one that could use a big cutback, I got it in better soil last year. I don't care about flowers, so do the work now?
 

JudyB

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I dig and repot azaleas in Aug/Sep, if that is what you are asking, @JudyB.
@Lazylightningny;s original question was specifically about bare rooting and trunk chopping (simultaneously).
Yeah I was being lazy non lightning Judy and piggybacking on LLgnys question. I've just been waiting till after flowering to repot as that's what I've heard is the correct timing to repot and then cut back. But if that timing is just based on seeing the flowers, then I can forgo that and get the work done.
 

Mellow Mullet

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Yeah I was being lazy non lightning Judy and piggybacking on LLgnys question. I've just been waiting till after flowering to repot as that's what I've heard is the correct timing to repot and then cut back. But if that timing is just based on seeing the flowers, then I can forgo that and get the work done.
You are right, Judy, it is all about timing. There is now exact, right time to do any of it that fits every situation. You just want to make sure that there is still a couple of months of cooler (Spring-like) weather for it to recover after the repot. The only time I ever lost any azalea was when I repotted late and the plant just struggled with the heat. Early Spring or late Summer/Fall is best. Hard pruning (basically cutting major limbs or cutting back to a stump) is best done at this time too for the same reason. Hard pruning in the middle of Summer is hard on them, I have had success and failures with it and unless it is an emergency would not recommend it. Regular pruning for shape can be done all year, except you need to stop after June if you want flowers, this may vary based on climate (the flowers deadline).

I repot indicas and kurumes after flowering because they are finished flowering, here, by Feb/March. I repot satsukis before they flower, in Feb/March, because if I wait until they finish, it will be to hot. Your repotting has to be adjusted for your climate.

The repotting after flowering comes from Japan. I have a friend who used to be in our club who spent two years apprenticing in Japan in an area where they are known for azaleas and, yes, they do repot after flowering. But in Japan, after the flowering season, they enter a cool rainy season, which is perfect for recovery. Here in Mobile, after flowering, we are starting our brutal summer, not so good.

My friend, Russell is his name, also said that they never removed the flowers before blooming. Sure, they thinned them some for better display on show trees, but the stock trees where left alone with all of the flowers, year after year. The idea of flowers robbing energy that could be used for growth is just another bonsai myth. If the plant is healthy, it is gonna bloom and grow, profusely. I let mine flower every year and have so much foliar growth that I have to prune twice a month to keep them in shape. I just fail to see how the lack of flowers could make them grow any better. In fact, I have pruned late on some, which removed most of the flowers before they were made. The growth the following spring was exactly the same as the ones with flowers, at the same time.

Anyway, my two cents. I have at least thirty azaleas in pots and it seems to work for me.

John
 

JudyB

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You are right, Judy, it is all about timing. There is now exact, right time to do any of it that fits every situation. You just want to make sure that there is still a couple of months of cooler (Spring-like) weather for it to recover after the repot. The only time I ever lost any azalea was when I repotted late and the plant just struggled with the heat. Early Spring or late Summer/Fall is best. Hard pruning (basically cutting major limbs or cutting back to a stump) is best done at this time too for the same reason. Hard pruning in the middle of Summer is hard on them, I have had success and failures with it and unless it is an emergency would not recommend it. Regular pruning for shape can be done all year, except you need to stop after June if you want flowers, this may vary based on climate (the flowers deadline).

I repot indicas and kurumes after flowering because they are finished flowering, here, by Feb/March. I repot satsukis before they flower, in Feb/March, because if I wait until they finish, it will be to hot. Your repotting has to be adjusted for your climate.

The repotting after flowering comes from Japan. I have a friend who used to be in our club who spent two years apprenticing in Japan in an area where they are known for azaleas and, yes, they do repot after flowering. But in Japan, after the flowering season, they enter a cool rainy season, which is perfect for recovery. Here in Mobile, after flowering, we are starting our brutal summer, not so good.

My friend, Russell is his name, also said that they never removed the flowers before blooming. Sure, they thinned them some for better display on show trees, but the stock trees where left alone with all of the flowers, year after year. The idea of flowers robbing energy that could be used for growth is just another bonsai myth. If the plant is healthy, it is gonna bloom and grow, profusely. I let mine flower every year and have so much foliar growth that I have to prune twice a month to keep them in shape. I just fail to see how the lack of flowers could make them grow any better. In fact, I have pruned late on some, which removed most of the flowers before they were made. The growth the following spring was exactly the same as the ones with flowers, at the same time.

Anyway, my two cents. I have at least thirty azaleas in pots and it seems to work for me.

John
Thanks for this information. As you know it's difficult to find, and I'm not going to just contact some expert that I don't know to get advice like Adair has suggested. I would take a class at some point if I can't figure them out. But I think I'm starting to get it, I'm 3 seasons I think into owning them.
 

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