Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

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Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  drgonzo on Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:32 am

Hello all,

I have a Kurume azalea that will need total re-shaping, a hard prune past all existing foliage to re-grow the canopy, when is the best time in the growing season to do this? I've spent the last hour looking this very question up on the internet and the advice is all over the place and contradictory. It was repotted last spring and will NOT need re-potting this comming year.

I would really appreciate someone's help with this.... Azaleas make me nervous.
my best and my thanks as always
-Jay

PS there is a Japanese term for this procedure where you cut back past all foliage anyone remember what it is?


Last edited by drgonzo on Mon May 07, 2012 9:09 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  marcus watts on Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:16 am

drgonzo wrote:

PS there is a Japanese term for this procedure where you cut back past all foliage anyone remember what it is?

hi Jay,

starting-again-with-fingers-crossed-iki Smile

To drive the tree into maximum foliage production may be a two stage thing as you want a new canopy but these treees are very much base dominant. To remove all the branches together may result in all the energy going to growing new base branches at the expense of the weaker top. How about letting base branches flower (to sap their strength), keep them pinched back so there is no new extension growth, and chop off all the upper branches ? I'd cut upper branches off as soon as the lower flower buds start swelling but i would be best guessing tbo. I think you could keep the energy going to the top until you are happy with the crown, then do the lower branches once you are refining the top.

dont be nervous of them, any tree that sprouts shoots from all over cant really go wrong ! Laughing

cheers Marcus

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  sunip on Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:51 am

Hi.
Why you need a reshaping, because old branches are losing slowly vigor
or is it a wrong placement of the branches?
A nice site to visit is Satsukimania.net,
look for the tips and visit also the shibue satsuki bonsai garden, there you see pictures of heavy pruning in jan febr
in the Kanuma area, note they leave the top branches on the tree and they are in a shelter.
The older satsuki branch needs a rejuvenation after some years of growing and flowering.
(some talk about ± 12 years and 70% of the branches of)
If you need some back budding and the tree is healthy, you could try a defoliation after the flowering.
Are the branches losing vigor i would prefer a cut back in stages, cut back till the last leaves.
New growth should first harden of before the next cut.
Cutting back to the trunk could leave you with sap withdrawal on that part of the trunk and roots,
on the other hand satsuki can take a lot.
I must say i never did a total cut back to the trunk, so i to am curious of actual experience of others.
regards, Sunip

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:15 pm

sunip wrote:Hi.
Why you need a reshaping, because old branches are losing slowly vigor
or is it a wrong placement of the branches?
A nice site to visit is Satsukimania.net,
look for the tips and visit also the shibue satsuki bonsai garden, there you see pictures of heavy pruning in jan febr
in the Kanuma area, note they leave the top branches on the tree and they are in a shelter.
The older satsuki branch needs a rejuvenation after some years of growing and flowering.
(some talk about ± 12 years and 70% of the branches of)
If you need some back budding and the tree is healthy, you could try a defoliation after the flowering.
Are the branches losing vigor i would prefer a cut back in stages, cut back till the last leaves.
New growth should first harden of before the next cut.
Cutting back to the trunk could leave you with sap withdrawal on that part of the trunk and roots,
on the other hand satsuki can take a lot.
I must say i never did a total cut back to the trunk, so i to am curious of actual experience of others.
regards, Sunip

I've never seen a kurume respond like a satsuki to anything. Don't assume that what you see being done to satsuki you can do to kurume too. There are tons of beautiful kurume hybrids here and in Japan, ever wonder why you don't see them used for bonsai like satsuki???

Marcus' suggestion sounds reasonable, but... Personally, I'd never cut a kurume past green especially 1. up top, 2. if it's older, and 3. it's not incredibly vigorous.

R

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  sunip on Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:47 pm


I've never seen a kurume respond like a satsuki to anything. Don't assume that what you see being done to satsuki you can do to kurume too. There are tons of beautiful kurume hybrids here and in Japan, ever wonder why you don't see them used for bonsai like satsuki???

Marcus' suggestion sounds reasonable, but... Personally, I'd never cut a kurume past green especially 1. up top, 2. if it's older, and 3. it's not incredibly vigorous.
R[/quote]

Hello Jay,
Thanks Russel,
I know Kurume and Kiusianum as small leaved with small flowers,
so they respond different from the rhododendron indicum used as satsuki.
I understand, in general kurume are less easy as bonsai?
Are there any other important specifics in care as bonsai?
Respond Rhododendron Kaemferie and Obtusum also like Kurume?
regards, Sunip



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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  drgonzo on Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:11 pm

The canopy and branches in general have all gotten very leggy with growth way out on the tips, I need to get back budding further down the branches in order to begin to compact the foliage,

BOY am I glad I asked! I was originally thinking I would just stump it and await the back budding as I've seen John G. do on his videos, but now I see I have to work the Kurume down a bit slower?

So you guys think I should't go past green on any branches?
-Jay

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:13 pm

Sunip, I think if the kurume hybrids were easy bonsai you'd see millions of them like you do satsuki. The ones you see as bonsai are usually developed from collected wild plants (miyama kurishima) or old garden plants. I can't see anyone trying to grow off kurume like they do satsuki. They are slow and temperamental - so why would anyone bother with them (compared to satsuki)? I don't know what to tell you about Kaemferie and Obtusum.

Jay, I haven't seen your tree and don't know anything about it. Kurumes aren't happy here with our long hot summer nights, especially in pots. Here, I'd proceed very cautiously. They're nothing but heartache - HEARTACHE I TELL YOU!!


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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  drgonzo on Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:29 pm

Russell Coker wrote: They're nothing but heartache - HEARTACHE I TELL YOU!!


WHY! Why did I do this to myself, no wonder the damned thing was hidden behind a bunch of Eugenia, It was shamed and unwanted. Sulking in the corner while all the showy fancy shohin Satsukis were lined up all pretty on the shelf nearby getting all the attention.

Honestly Russell the price was right and I liked the pot it was in- lol!

My northern summer nights are nice and cool, I'm not sure how long Bill V. had it before I came along but he's in the same spot roughly that I'm in geographically. Strangely enough with all this down talk about it I'm starting to like it even more.

Let me ask this, when would we normally stump cut any Azalea to initiate the back budding, before or after flowering? I have a bunch of Northern hardy nursery stock Azalea all in the ground fattening up that will eventually need this procedure done.

-Jay

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  Randy_Davis on Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:12 pm

[quote="drgonzo]Let me ask this, when would we normally stump cut any Azalea to initiate the back budding, before or after flowering? I have a bunch of Northern hardy nursery stock Azalea all in the ground fattening up that will eventually need this procedure done.

-Jay[/quote]

Jay,

I would wait until after the normal flowering period to do a complete stump cut. They can be done later during the year but I would only do it if I was in dire strates. Here is a picture of a karume that a gardner dumped in my driveway after he ripped it out of a garden with no soil on it in June or July a few years ago. I stump cut it back completely put it into a good light soil mix with lots of pine bark and peat moss and in about a month it started to sprout new growth. Someone said thay are bottom dominant and they sure are. It's important to rub off any new sprouts on the trunk where you don't want them immediately. It can be done, just take your time and be patient and you should be rewarded. Mine is still not done and will require a number of years work yet.

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  sunip on Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:27 pm

Hi Jay,

Look at a post in the bonsai page of Jim Lewis of a shohin kurume
mar 30 2011
Also a post of Ian young april 3 2011
Rhododendron Blue Diamond.
Sunip Wink

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  Dale Cochoy on Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:50 pm

drgonzo,
You might enjoy or find some helpful info in my progressive photo article I wrote.

http://ofbonsai.org/galleries/progressions/a-starter-azalea-bonsai-ten-years-in-the-making

D.

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:32 pm

Seriously, you may have much better luck in the Great White North than we do here in the Deep South. If I were you I'd be very happy to have a nice one as they are rare compared to satsuki. Here, you spend years developing them just to walk out one day to find half the branches dead. When you're working with old garden shrubs like Randy's you have to be really careful in removing large branches. They are notorious for dying back into the root system from a cut.

I would think that making drastic cuts like you're talking about really depends on your location and whether your azaleas bloom early, mid or late season. It's better to watch your azaleas and base that decision on what the plant's doing rather than take a blanket statement as gospel. For instance, most people will tell you to repot satsuki after they bloom. Well, that's the end of May and into June here and it's too damn hot. We don't have the cool rainy season that Japan has then, so you have to use some common sense.

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  Dale Cochoy on Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:41 pm

Russell,
This tree blooms much earlier than my Satsuki and HUNDREDS of blooms. I have always prefered them because the flowers last MUCH longer than Satsuki which I've always found are shot after a brief rain, it twigs better and back-buds better. At least, here in NE Ohio and for ME. IMO the flowers on most satsuki I have are just too big for the plant. But, I do like kinsai.

D.

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  sunip on Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:27 pm

Russell Coker wrote:
I would think that making drastic cuts like you're talking about really depends on your location and whether your azaleas bloom early, mid or late season. It's better to watch your azaleas and base that decision on what the plant's doing rather than take a blanket statement as gospel. For instance, most people will tell you to repot satsuki after they bloom. Well, that's the end of May and into June here and it's too damn hot. We don't have the cool rainy season that Japan has then, so you have to use some common sense.
Hi,
That sounds good to me, with this early blossoming sorts who respond different then satsuki
i would repot before flowering and remove most of the flower buds and place them sheltered although they are frost hardier then satsuki.
Sunip

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  landerloos on Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:53 pm

Could someone wright a review on kurumes? and post it here.
I have on fairly descend tree kurume, could use all the info on cutting aso.

Kind regards
Peter

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  drgonzo on Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:55 pm

@Dale- That article was excellent thank you!

@Randy its nice to see you can stump them and have prolific budding even that lat into the season.

I noticed today while checking on the tree, that here and there a thicker branch was cut back to say an inch from the trunk and then surrounded itself with new growth, These cuts would have been done earlier this year as the growth is obviously young. Maybe someone at Bills did a little pruning, I just got the tree this fall and will allow it to bloom in spring, I've never seen Kurume blooms so I gotta let it flower! i think I'm going to try pinching hard after flowering and see If I can get back budding that way before I go too drastic and stump the thing, Its a very nice shohin and I agree with Russell its best to get to know it a bit before whacking it down to nubs.

just knowing that very hard pruning should be left until after flowering has been helpfull.
-Jay

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  Russell Coker on Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:52 pm



Please post a picture sometime, I'd love to see what we're talking about here! Flowers too, when the time comes.

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  drgonzo on Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:15 pm

Russell Coker wrote:

Please post a picture sometime, I'd love to see what we're talking about here! Flowers too, when the time comes.

Let me see if I can grab a few of my typical back alley, low resolution, photos of the tree in question.
-Jay

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  drgonzo on Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:25 pm



Not too bad actually for a photo on a grey Upstate NY day. Now that most of last years leaves are off, you can see the branch structure better, the leader was wired up this spring and you can see where things get leggy and where I've tried with wire to bring some extension in a bit closer. Its actually a nice little tree just needs tertiary branching and some compacting.

-Jay

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  Russell Coker on Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:56 pm

OK, now that I'm actually seeing what you're talking about...

1 - You won't have any trouble shortening those branches. I was picturing something much older and established.

2 - I'm really not convinced that's even a kurume. I want to see the flowers this spring.

3 - I have that SAME camera!

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  landerloos on Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:59 pm

Russell Coker wrote:OK, now that I'm actually seeing what you're talking about...

1 - You won't have any trouble shortening those branches. I was picturing something much older and established.

2 - I'm really not convinced that's even a kurume. I want to see the flowers this spring.

3 - I have that SAME camera!

Have to agree doesnt look like a kurume, mine is very different much smaller leafs, we have to see flowers then.

Peter

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  drgonzo on Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:02 pm

Bill Valavanis told me it was a Kurume with pink flowers when I bought it from him this fall.

Indeed its not terribly old, I do mostly shohin sized trees. For now I only like to purchase smaller less expensive Azaleas to kill, that way I don't feel quite so bad.

It has some nice buds as of now, I'm looking forward to the flowers myself, haven't seen them yet. I will make sure to post more terrible pics of it when it flowers.
-Jay


Last edited by drgonzo on Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:18 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  coh on Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:17 pm

It's not the camera! All you need is a little help from photoshop:



What kind of style/size are you thinking about for the design? Are you going to shorten that top growth significantly (like below), or keep it and design a taller tree? Looks like either could work.

Chris


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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  drgonzo on Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:19 pm

I was secretly hoping Chris would show up and work his magic on my picture, I like the virtual you did thats along the lines of where I see the tree going as well.
-Jay

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

Post  Russell Coker on Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:52 pm

With a tree that age you should have no trouble at all cutting it back hard to produce something like Chris' virt.

Just because Bill says... Hmm, how should I put this????... I'll be eager to see the flowers. Blooming early and NOT being a satsuki doesn't automatically make it kurume.

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Re: Kurume Hard Prune....HELP! (UPDATE SPRING 2012.. with photo)

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