azalea watering

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azalea watering

Post  austinheitzman on Sun May 24, 2009 3:07 pm

I just acquired an azalea. Philadelphia water is moderately hard, and I have read that this is bad for azaleas. The article recommended rainwater, which is all fine and good in the spring, but Philadelphia can become an urban desert during the summer, no matter what I manage to save there will not be enough rainwater to go around. Could distilled water from the grocery store work as an adequate substitute? Also question part 2: I have heard kitty litter works as bonsai soil, but I have only heard of foreign brands that work- does anyone know American kitty litter brands that are good to use? Thank you, don't know where I would be without your support.

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Re: azalea watering

Post  bisjoe on Sun May 24, 2009 5:58 pm

Hard water is often alkaline because of the minerals. You can use it on azaleas but then fertilize with Miracid to give it the acidity it likes. Any kitty litter will work if the ingredients show that it is calcined clay. Other types can turn to mush over time. I use Turface, and in a pinch Shultz Aquatic Soil which is the same thing but more expensive and readily available at Home Depot and Lowe's in the pond section. I heard that "Johnny Cat" is calcined Clay but best verify that.

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Re: azalea watering

Post  Carolee on Sun May 24, 2009 6:33 pm

For whatever reason, the Lowes and Home Depot in my area doesn't carry turface. I have used a kitty litter in the past, and it worked. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of it. I believed I bought it at a Rural King. Be sure that the ONLY ingredrient is calcined clay or high-fired clay. This means it is the most inexpensive kitty litter and not a brand name. I've said it in another post, but I'll repeat it here. Before you use kitty litter, put some a container and cover it with water: wait 24 hours. If the clay has not turned to mush, but has retained its 'rock' shape, then it is okay to use it. If not, throw it out. Good luck.

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Re: azalea watering

Post  JimLewis on Sun May 24, 2009 11:11 pm

Add a tablespoon of vinegar to a gallon of water and see if that helps. Even 2 tablespoons.

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vinegar

Post  austinheitzman on Mon May 25, 2009 1:08 am

Thank you everyone for your responses, they have been very helpful.
Jim- I had read about using vinegar, but it was mentioned as a last resort. Will the vinegar sap strength or otherwise adversely affect the tree?
bisjoe- the kitty litter question stems from an incident when I ran out of turface and every home depot and lowe's in my area didn't carry aquatic soil- I was in a pinch for soil- mid planting and I didn't have a lot of time to find something suitable. I wished I knew a kitty litter brand I could turn to at that time- I thought it would be helpful to anyone else in the future in a similar predicament. Then it would also help to make sure you have enough soil before going to collect a plant- but greed and surprises always seem to outpace my soil supply.

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Re: azalea watering

Post  JimLewis on Mon May 25, 2009 1:46 am


Jim- I had read about using vinegar, but it was mentioned as a last resort. Will the vinegar sap strength or otherwise adversely affect the tree?

I can't imagine why. Try 1 Tblsp first for a few weeks, then increase if needed.

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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: azalea watering

Post  Alan Walker on Tue May 26, 2009 5:19 pm

The reason azaleas prefer an acid environment is that their root systems are not very efficient at getting nutrients. They're lazy, if you will. Adding regular strength Miracle Gro or similar fertilizer to your water will provide those nutrients while also making the water more acid.

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Re: azalea watering

Post  bonsaistud on Thu May 28, 2009 7:41 am

Personally, as in IMHO, I wouldn't waste my time with any Litter, here in North America. And, by the way, 24 hours isn't nearly long enough for the "mush" test.

How often do you repot? Every two years, you say? There you go. Think about it.

You could always try OilDri...I've used it for 10-12 years. It works for me. I've found it at Sam's Club, Walmart, Ace Hardware.

Pat

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Re: azalea watering

Post  papecon on Thu May 28, 2009 6:55 pm

I have not found a kitty litter I like, but I have had good luck with a Diatomaceous earth oil absorber from napa auto parts. Make sureyou dont buy the clay one that turns to mush. Very reasonably Priced.

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oil spill

Post  austinheitzman on Thu May 28, 2009 11:55 pm

never thought of oil clean up- same stuff though- worth investigating thanks for all the responses.

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Re: azalea watering

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