First Satsuki Azalea, need advice.....

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First Satsuki Azalea, need advice.....

Post  alonsou on Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:24 pm

This is my first Satsuki Azalea, I was told by the owner of the nursery where I got it from that I can repot it successfully as long as I don't remove more than half of the original soil and don't disturb the roots a lot, is this true?... I has lots of buds, seems like it will look amazing once its in full bloom, I also was told that if I repot I shouldn't do any styling until the next spring... true or false? Pretty much if you can give me any general care instructions for it, it will be great!!

I have most of all of my junipers (young) on a mix of 80% Diatomaceous earth and 20% pine bark, will this mix work for the Satsuki?..










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Re: First Satsuki Azalea, need advice.....

Post  Kev Bailey on Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:59 am

As Satsukis have a dense fibrous root system, I tend to use a saw to cut off about the lower third, so that it will fit into a suitable depth pot. The one thing to be really careful about is that the new pot is not much larger than the resultant rootball. Just a little larger will be fine. If there is too much soil unoccupied by roots, it stays too wet for too long and you get root problems.

I'm not sure whether your proposed mix will work. It is very unlike mine. I use peat, composted bark and granite grit. However, there are other mixes that do work, like Kanuma, so we'll have to wait and see what Satsuki experts on here can share.

Good luck and please post pics here when it flowers next May.


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Re: First Satsuki Azalea, need advice.....

Post  JimLewis on Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:45 pm

I'm not sure, however, that I'd leave the flower buds on if you repot now or in the early spring. At this time of year, most of the energy has been spent on making the buds, but it will use a bit more growing them over h inter and it does take a bit to bloom. Root work will weaken the tree somewhat.

Do you know how long these have been in their current nursery pots? If you don't, grab the lower trunk and try to move the plant in the pot. If it is tight, the plant has a root system that pretty much fills the pot. If it is loose, it probably has been repotted fairly recently.

If the former, you will find it hard to move the tree into a bonsai pot without doing considerable root reduction as azalea have a mass of fibrous root, and it is hard to mix soil in around it when you repot.

You probably will want to go to 40% organic in your soil mix. Rotted pine bark is great! Azaleas need a quite acid soil.

You might want to consider getting "Satsuki Azaleas for bonsai and azalea enthusiasts" by Robert Z. Callahan (Stone Lantern pub.) www.stonelantern.com .

Where in California are you? Parts of S. California will be too warm for good azalea growing.

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Re: First Satsuki Azalea, need advice.....

Post  alonsou on Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:12 pm

Thanks for your answers guys,

I'm in SoCal (Norwalk, pretty close to Anaheim)

I knew about the fibrous root system on Azaleas, a few weeks ago I got a red Azalea, and it was a PITA to get the soil into the fine roots, anyways I just did my best and hope that works for it Very Happy .

I have no idea how long its been on its current "nursery plastic pot" but the Satsuki is tight on its pot/soil so I guess its been there for quite a time now.

I'm not sure, however, that I'd leave the flower buds on if you repot now or in the early spring. At this time of year, most of the energy has been spent on making the buds, but it will use a bit more growing them over h inter and it does take a bit to bloom. Root work will weaken the tree somewhat.

I will really like to see what color of Azalea is this one first. Around when should I expect to see it full bloom? April~May? Can I repot after blooming?


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Re: First Satsuki Azalea, need advice.....

Post  JimLewis on Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:34 pm

alonsou wrote:Thanks for your answers guys,


I will really like to see what color of Azalea is this one first. Around when should I expect to see it full bloom? April~May? Can I repot after blooming?


I'd guess it should bloom in April in the LA area, maybe a little earlier. You can repot after bloom. Most books say that's when you should do it, but the books are biologically wrong. It's just that their owners are like you, and want want to see blooms every year, so if you can repot late, that becomes the norm, even though it's not best for the plant.

Azaleas are just like every other plant. They will do better if repotted in early spring. This means that you debud in the winter before the repot -- near blasphemy for azalea growers. (You can, however, always leave one bud -- or even two. In fact, it is very difficult to find all the buds when you debud; you almost always miss one or two.)

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: First Satsuki Azalea, need advice.....

Post  Russell Coker on Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:12 am

That's basically good information. You'll see the flowers in late April, but probably May. Seems like satsuki suffer in southern CA, but that's based on memories of George Yamaguchi's nursery from the early 80's (I'm dating myself here). I think the long term problems for satsuki in your area is the lack of humidity, not enough seasonal change and TERRIBLE water (at least in George's case).

Oh, in case you don't know, it's Kazan, with small reddish flowers.

Russell

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Re: First Satsuki Azalea, need advice.....

Post  shimsuki on Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:49 pm

I recommend not repotting it now. I have been taught to wait till right before the tree starts to push in the spring to repot. Ideally you should not let satsukis flower the year of a repot. I recommend kanuma only, but I have a lot of humidity where I live. I would maybe suggest using 90% kanuma and 10% spagnum peat. Also put some yamagoki moss on top of the soil to keep the tree moist when you do repot. From the pictures it looks like you need a fall cleanup. You can see the process on my blog: http://naturalbonsai.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/fall-azalea-work/. Since this is your first satsuki, I will warn you that azaleas need deeper pots than other trees since they are a flowering species, but for now I suggest a round training pot! 1) because this is not a finished tree and 2) because when you have a round pot, if you change the front during styling you can visually see it better than if you have a rectangle and the new front looks awkward in the corner. Just something to think about.

Here is a place to get good winter hardy training pots:
http://www.satsukibonsai-en.com/Products/Containers/trainingPots.htm

I will also recommend this book and the stone lantern one mentioned earlier: http://www.satsukibonsai-en.com/Products/Books/Bonsai_Satsuki.htm

Russel I was thinking kazan too, though we will have to see a pic of the flowers to be 100% sure!




Hope this helped,
Andrew

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Re: First Satsuki Azalea, need advice.....

Post  shimsuki on Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:01 pm

I wouldn't rule out kakoku as a variety either, the kakoku in my father and I's collection has small leaves like kazan with very similar shape. Again we need to see the flower to be sure! Kazan is more likely though because it is a popular American breed of satsuki.

Andrew

PS a witches broom from Kazan makes a dynamite tree!!!!!!! My teacher has one that he wont sell me! Mad

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Re: First Satsuki Azalea, need advice.....

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:04 am

Andrew,

Do you have a picture of that one? I can't find that name, it must be a new one (?). Either way, if it's not kazan I'll eat my shorts.

R

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Re: First Satsuki Azalea, need advice.....

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