Soil mix for azalea

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Soil mix for azalea

Post  Tom Simonyi on Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:13 pm

I have read that straight akadama is a good medium for azaleas....I have a collected tree that will be in need of moving into another pot within the next several months....I am not sure of the cultivar except that it is an evergreen variety ("common" azalea if you will). My area is temperate (Zone 6). Thanks in advance for recommendations.

Tom

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Re: Soil mix for azalea

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:06 pm

I have used pure Canadian Peat with great success.

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Re: Soil mix for azalea

Post  Guest on Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:47 pm

Tom Simonyi wrote:I have read that straight akadama is a good medium for azaleas....I have a collected tree that will be in need of moving into another pot within the next several months....I am not sure of the cultivar except that it is an evergreen variety ("common" azalea if you will). My area is temperate (Zone 6). Thanks in advance for recommendations.

Tom

Kanuma is the absolute best! Its similar to akadema but it is more acidic (which azaleas like) and its yellow when wet. It is what the japanese use for all their satsuki azaleas and I have heard it works just as good with other species of azalea.

As a side note when azaleas are in kanuma, no miracid is needed since the kanuma is already an acidic soil.


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Re: Soil mix for azalea

Post  Mike Jones on Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:59 am

I use a mix of kanuma in larger particles at the bottom raising to small ish near the top. I cover the top section with a dust free composted bark then top dress in Akadama. I work on the basis when the Akadama turns dry colour it is time to water. The composted bark protects the surface roots adequately (IMHO).

Mike

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Re: Soil mix for azalea

Post  jgeanangel on Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:32 am

Hey Andrew, Many people do strongly recommend Kanuma for azaleas. In terms of acidity, and if I am not mistaken, John Quinn had both akadama and Kanuma tested by our local county extension. In their testing, akadama was the more acidic soil. I don't remember the exact numbers but this comes back to mind every time someone mentions that Kanuma is more acidic. I personally use a high quality potting soil for my azaleas in training and an amended version(peat) of my standard soil mix for my trees in bonsai pots.

For those of you who are kanuma lovers have you tried straight perlite? Seems to be a fair amount of similarities between the two. I use perlite for cuttings but when I have tried it with nursery material it just doesn't retain enough water for the needs of the plants in my climate.

John

Guest wrote:

Kanuma is the absolute best! Its similar to akadema but it is more acidic (which azaleas like) and its yellow when wet. It is what the japanese use for all their satsuki azaleas and I have heard it works just as good with other species of azalea.

As a side note when azaleas are in kanuma, no miracid is needed since the kanuma is already an acidic soil.


Andrew

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Re: Soil mix for azalea

Post  Tom Simonyi on Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:19 pm

Thank you all for your input...thought I would include a picture of the tree...it is two years out from collection from the landscape...as I mentioned I am unsure of the cultivar, but I was able to contact the gentleman who planted it and he did so in 1973.

Regards,
Tom

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Re: Soil mix for azalea

Post  John Quinn on Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:56 pm

What John G stated about the pH of my soil samples is correct. The pH of the akadama was lower than that of the kanuma, though I don't have the numbers handy. I pot my azaleas in an equal mixture of composted pine bark mulch/turface/granite 'sand'. They seem to do well in this or kanuma or akadama.

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Akadama - Kanuma

Post  pmjos on Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:16 pm

Akadama is red brown in color due to the oxidized iron content. Neutral to slightly acidic. Soil is dug up and dried and broken up into walnut to pea sizes. Soil aggregates have small spaces which allow for both good water retention and drainage. It will normally last 1 to 2 years without breaking up in dryer climates but not more - red line or hard acadama is mainly chosen for bonsai in wetter/colder climates. As azaleas like to be moist - acadama can get muddy if left too wet and not mixed with Kiryu, pumice or grit. Acadama can be acidic (ph 6.4-6.6) but as its not a factory product it isn't always. Some people swear by it - some people swear about it - you have to make your own mind up.

Kanuma is eroded volcanic pumice from Tochigi (Kanuma region and Ibaragi coast area), Japan. It is pale yellow brown in color when dry which turn to yellow brown in color when wet. Slightly acidic (ph 6.4-6.5). Very porous with both a good water retention quality and good drainage. Due to the high porous and soft quality, Kanuma soil is best suited for plants with fine hairy roots such as Azaleas. It is easily broken up when wet. Since the soil tends easily to turn acidic, it is good for plants that like acidic conditions. Used as a basic bonsai soil component for Azaleas.

Kanuma is a very good water filter and is used as just that in industry. It mops up and holds on to organic and mineral compounds and that makes it ideal for holding onto low ph solutions - in other words it holds on to acid compounds and minerals if you put them in - i.e acidic liquid feeds. It is NOT true that you don't need and acid feed with Kanuma.

Live sphpagnum moss left in water for a week can drop the ph as far as 4.5. It is a good thing to add a layer finely chopped sphagnum moss on the top of your Satsuki's soil to help keep that ph low. It will also hep in moisture retention.

There are lots of local alternative options for soil substrates from pine bark and pummice to cat litter just keep the ph down with acid feed.







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Re: Soil mix for azalea

Post  shimsuki on Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:27 am

jgeanangel wrote:Hey Andrew, Many people do strongly recommend Kanuma for azaleas. In terms of acidity, and if I am not mistaken, John Quinn had both akadama and Kanuma tested by our local county extension. In their testing, akadama was the more acidic soil. I don't remember the exact numbers but this comes back to mind every time someone mentions that Kanuma is more acidic. I personally use a high quality potting soil for my azaleas in training and an amended version(peat) of my standard soil mix for my trees in bonsai pots.

For those of you who are kanuma lovers have you tried straight perlite? Seems to be a fair amount of similarities between the two. I use perlite for cuttings but when I have tried it with nursery material it just doesn't retain enough water for the needs of the plants in my climate.

John

Learn something new everyday! I have never tested it, but I just went off what I had heard. Sounds like the mythbusters of bonsai Smile

Whatever the case, I have found that straight kanuma works best. I have seen it working with my mentor, Dave Kreutz, who is very well known in the US for his work with satsukis. He says, and I have seen, that plain old kanuma does the trick. No additives. What he teaches is putting yamagoki moss on top of the kamuma to help keep it moist. Also since alazeas are plants with numerous feeder roots, using yamagoki moss really helps keep feeder roots healthy. He has show me the differences between satsukis with and without yamagoki, and it makes a big difference. He and his teacher, "ghondo-san" (forgive my spelling), say straight kanuma. And his teacher is a famous satsuki figure in Japan.

In the end, you have to do what works, and logic tells us do what works the best. I have seen the results from several different soil mixes, and what I have recommended works the best in my opinion. Each person will have to find out what works best for themselves. A good way to experiment with soils with satukis is with cuttings. Take similar cuttings from the same tree and try them in different soil mixes with and without yamagoki. This is the best way to experiment soils with satsukis.

Hope you find something that works,
Andrew


BTW I was the 'guest' that posted above, I had to delete my old account because I could not figure out how to change my email, since the email on the other account was an old address.

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Re: Soil mix for azalea

Post  Jose O. Rivera on Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:26 am

I use Kanuma mixed with akadama.

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Re: Soil mix for azalea

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:12 am

I have used a peat moss mix with some added perlite for the last 28 years.Works.
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Re: Soil mix for azalea

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