SATSUKI AZALEAS

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SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  mtrddog on Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:24 am

what are the needs for a Satsuki Azalea , I was given one in a small nursery pot , I want to leave it in it and let it grow out some more maybe a whole growing season , because it looks like the person didnt take good care of it and just passed it on to me , but I was also thinking of getting it in a bigger pot and letting the roots grow longer so that the trunk has a chance to get thicker , please any advice would be very much needed because Im a rooky at this . I well also be posting a pic of it , right now its on a east facing windowsill outside , I live in san fransisco area so Im not concerned about heavy frost or very low temps thanks sebastian

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  sunip on Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:21 pm

Hi Mtrddog,
A picture would be good to say more to the specific tree.
When you want a thicker trunk, a bigger pot will help, but sacrifice branching will do more than just bigger roots.
In what soil it is planted?
In what condition is the rootball?
Do you know the flowers and their size?
Was there a stage where the tree got to dry?
Why it looks not in good condition, if it is some leaf drop, this could be a seasonal thing,
some local forum members could say something about that?
Sunip

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  D-Ho on Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:27 pm

mtrddog, I'm trying my hand at Satsuki Azaleas down here in Texas. One thing that seems to follow when talking about Satsuki's is Kanuma soil/pumice. I have all of my Satsuki's in Kanuma and they love it. In pots I've had to shade them a bit during our H#llacious summer heat and sun. If you have already seen the blooms then I would suggest repotting it next spring a little before bud burst. How intense are your summers (heat, sun intensity)? If they are not too intense you may be able to repot after blooming occurs. If I get a Satsuki in non-kanuma soil I usually rinse the roots (when repotting) with water or let the bare root ball sit in a bucket of water for a while to loosen it up. I try to not disrupt the roots at all if the azalea is weak. Once you get good conditions and a year or more in Kanuma then I would go ahead and do root pruning if needed next repot. If you want to do some growing out use a pot slightly larger but not too big, mainly wider but not too much deeper than the existing pot. I've seen a wet slurry of Kanuma at the bottom of over-potted azaleas in too deep of a pot.

I just got the Satsuki Azaleas for Bonsai and Azalea Enthusiasts by Robert Z. Callaham, sold by Stone Lantern. If you like a fairly technical book, which I die for, then I would recommend it. It has some advanced Satsuki pruning techniques, huge list of cultivars, and some good Satsuki growing concepts. Otherwise I've gotten most of my info through web searches over the years.

I'm actually looking to grow out some fat Satsuki's and so I'm looking into getting some bulk Kanuma to build a dedicated Kanuma raised bed in my garden. I'm not sure how it will turn out but I can't resist fat trunks and I will go to all lengths to get them.

One question I have: can you identify the components of the existing soil? If it is very peaty then I would be careful to not let the soil stay soggy during the winter. You may even want to make more ventilation holes under and on the sides of the pot to keep that from happening. Maybe use a sharp awl tool. If it is root bound then I would either bypass making the extra vent holes or atleast be extra careful to do as little root cutting as possible. If you kill some roots not only will you harm the tree but you will also generate some material destined for rot. Root rot can get azaleas like a plague because their roots are so fine they can turn to mush, quick. Try to keep it outside in a somewhat sunny location and shelter it from freezes for now, until it gets healthier for next winter.

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thanks

Post  mtrddog on Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:17 am

thank you all for your information and I will post a pic soon I will title it PIC satzuki

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  Russell Coker on Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:43 am



You don't need Kanuma soil to grow satsuki in America.

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  D-Ho on Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:39 am

Got a good recipe? I'd love to not have to spend so much on kanuma.

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  Russell Coker on Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:09 pm



I spoke with my friend who grows azaleas commercially. His mix is 3 parts ground pine bark, 1 part pine shavings and 1 part peat moss. The pine bark is pretty fine. Check around your area for nursery supply companies. If there are growers in your area like there are here, someone's mixing soil for them. Fertilize them heavily too.

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  D-Ho on Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:02 pm

Pine shavings, that is interesting! Like the kind you find for animal bedding? May I ask where you friend has their place, for temperature/zone referencing?

I really haven't seen or heard of commercial azalea growers around here. Most of the azaleas I see in Austin's nurseries come from Monrovia.

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  Russell Coker on Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:28 pm


Don't know about the animal bedding part. I'm zone 8b just like you, Mobile Alabama. The nurseries are west and a little north in Semmes, so they don't get the benefit of the warm bay and rivers that we do in town. No tree cover at the nuresries either. (haven't we already covered this in your other thread?)

I'm not talking about what's for sale at retail nurseries and Home Depot. Are there no wholesale growers in the Austin area? Who do the local landscapers buy their plants from? Maybe I'm spoiled, this is a major industry in Mobile county.

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  D-Ho on Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:24 pm

Yeah, I'm pretty sure we covered it. I'm in grad school right now and it seems keeping track of my hobby conversations/post get blurred.

I pretty much never go to Home Depot or Lowes for my choice plants. There are some wholesale growers around but I NEVER see landscapers around here plant azaleas!

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:38 pm

Have you seen "Satsuki Azaleas for bonsai and azalea enthusiasts" by Robert Z. Callaham?

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  Russell Coker on Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:12 pm

Discuspro wrote:There are some wholesale growers around but I NEVER see landscapers around here plant azaleas!

Whether they plant azaleas is really beside the point. If there are wholesalers, then someone is supplying them. That's where you go for soil.

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  D-Ho on Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:20 pm

Billy, if you are speaking to me I have the book and it seems pretty nice so far.


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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:42 pm

Discuspro wrote:Billy, if you are speaking to me I have the book and it seems pretty nice so far.

My comment was aimed at everyon on the thread but especially the person who started the post.

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  Glaucus on Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:59 pm

The two big advantages of kanuma soil as far as I can tell is that it is dirt cheap, because in Kanuma city it is dirt, and because it drains so well root rot is impossible. The rainy season in Japan can get quite intense and is during the summer.

Peat is often the medium used to grow azalea and rhododendron. But for potted plants 100% peat will become a problem eventually. Fine shredded pine bark helps to add drainage and aeration. I myself also use perlite. Like Kanuma it is porous which allows air, water and roots to go through them. Perlite even floats on water. Sharp sand probably is a bit on the small side. Vermiculite and certain types of cat litter grid can have similar properties. As long as it isn't a lime based mineral and it helps drainage, it is probably good to mix in with the peat and pine bark.

Maybe for bonsai kanuma soil has other advantages over other potting mixes. But here in Europe it is 8 times as expensive as in Japan. It is probably similar in the US. And if you live in an area where the air gets really dry during the hottest days of summer, using 100% kanuma might mean you have to water 3 times a day. With kanuma you water 2 times a day. Azalea roots can't be allowed to really dry out.

If you didn't know, there's a bay area satsuki society called Aikokai.

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  Dale Cochoy on Mon Dec 26, 2011 6:39 pm

Russell Coker wrote:

You don't need Kanuma soil to grow satsuki in America.

Russell, could you say that 8 or 10 more times!!

D.

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  Russell Coker on Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:13 am

Ain't that the truth!


It's wonderful stuff, but GEEEEEEEEEEEEEZZZZZZZZZZZ!

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  drgonzo on Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:28 am

Its my understanding that Kanuma soil is used in Azalea bonsai culture because of its mildly acidic Ph reaction in water, (ph 5.5-6.5), Yet as Harry Harrington recommends, if you use nutrient solutions (i.e Miracid) that are already mixed to the Ph requirements for optimal absorption by a calcifuge such as azalea, soil composition at least with regards to Ph becomes irrelevant. Therefore all the pine bark and peat and such aren't necessary except for added water retention. Harrington grows all his Azalea in pure calcined clay-similar to Turface ph 6.5. He simply uses rainwater and acidic fertilizers.

I think the reason so many commercial growers use a lot of peat and pine bark is Firstly for moisture conservation in a setting where plants may not receive the amount of attention they should with regards to watering frequency (like a box store garden center) and also to help balance off water Ph issues any nurseries that may buy these wholesale plants may have (like a box store garden center using well water anywhere near where I live Very Happy )..There is probably a cost and shipping weight consideration in there too.
-Jay

I should make clear that I'm not a fan of Urea based fertilizers such as Mir-acid, other non-Urea based fertilizers when mixed with rain water will also give you an acid Ph between 5.5 and 6.0 which is optimal for Azalea and other calcifuge species like Beech or Hornbeam. You don't need to use Mir-acid per se..

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  Russell Coker on Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:39 am



Here in the South, peat is expensive - shipped in from Canada. Ground pine bark is easy to get and cheap - and plants love it as a growing medium. Yes, lightweight too. Just about anything grown here can be grown in ground pine bark.

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  drgonzo on Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:57 am

Russell

Up here in the Great White North peat is pretty cheap.
"I may have to plow the driveway but hey at least my Peat is cheap."
-Jay

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  Russell Coker on Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:00 am



It's 10 pm, 12-26-11, and 65 degrees outside. I'll gladly pay whatever peat costs!

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  coh on Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:05 am

You guys should have this conversation again in July or August...

Chris

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

Post  bruce muhlbaier on Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:02 pm

first ,hi to everyone i am new here. i have to agree you do not need to use kanuma soil to raise satsukis.i use a mix 3to1 of mini bark and pumice with everything sifted and it works fine.i have been given numerous old satsukis from japan with root rot and have brought back most of them but not all.i have also raised some in pure pumice with good results.

bruce

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Re: SATSUKI AZALEAS

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