Azaleas; helb a newby

Forum for discussion of Flowering and fuiting bonsai - Azalea, Serissa, Apricot etc.
Post Reply
pyrohamish
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 6
Joined: May 21st, 2018, 8:45 pm
Bonsai Age: 0
Location: Fremantle
Been thanked: 2 times

Azaleas; helb a newby

Post by pyrohamish » April 29th, 2020, 2:28 pm

Here is where I start my foray into the world of bonsai.

I picked up these couple of Azaleas that were dug out of a garden. I've tidied up the root ball back to slightly smaller than the pots shown, no major trimming as I didn't want to shock them too much.

Azalea No.1 is a bit all over the place, any ideas where to start? I think with some major thinning there might be something there.
Azalea No2 (1) (small).jpg
Azalea No2 (2) (small).jpg


Azalea No.2 seems like it has potential with the large horizontal branch, but what to lop off and where?
Azalea No1 (1) (small).jpg
Azalea No1 (2) (small).jpg
Azalea No1 (3) (small).jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

shibui
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 6099
Joined: August 22nd, 2009, 8:41 pm
Favorite Species: trident maple
Bonsai Age: 33
Bonsai Club: Albury/Wodonga; BSV; Canberra; VNBC
Location: Yackandandah
Has thanked: 8 times
Been thanked: 368 times
Contact:

Re: Azaleas; helb a newby

Post by shibui » April 29th, 2020, 6:12 pm

The best place to start is to give these a year or so to recover from transplant. Rushing to finish a bonsai may finish the trees.
You an use the time to consider a design for the trees. Looking for a year can give some great insights that are not obvious at first.
The first one seems to be buried quite deep. It is common for them to have lots of trunks and have roots on many of the trunks. It is also possible to split the clumps into several pieces, especially if the different trunks do not compliment each other. The 2 upright trunks in the first tree do not appear to work well together. Maybe split there would eliminate that problem and remove the big space. That may open the possibility of tilting the right side clump more upright.
Otherwise I find it far too difficult to design when I cannot properly see the 3D movement and relationships of each of the trunks and branches.
They are certainly good trunks and should yield good bonsai but they still need to recover from the transplant. Give them both some time before starting further work.

Azaleas are generally very hardy. I prune the roots back very hard when I dig them and have not had any problems. I find it is better to do a really hard root reduction when I dig rather than having to do that later when I want to fit it into a bonsai pot.
http://shibuibonsai.com.au/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

pyrohamish
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 6
Joined: May 21st, 2018, 8:45 pm
Bonsai Age: 0
Location: Fremantle
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Azaleas; helb a newby

Post by pyrohamish » April 30th, 2020, 8:00 pm

Thanks Shibui. I was definitely going to give them a good rest before trying too much.

Is the best way to split just go at with a sharp spade?

How hard is hard for root pruning?

Any advise on the best time of year to work on them?

shibui
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Aussie Bonsai Fan
Posts: 6099
Joined: August 22nd, 2009, 8:41 pm
Favorite Species: trident maple
Bonsai Age: 33
Bonsai Club: Albury/Wodonga; BSV; Canberra; VNBC
Location: Yackandandah
Has thanked: 8 times
Been thanked: 368 times
Contact:

Re: Azaleas; helb a newby

Post by shibui » April 30th, 2020, 9:26 pm

How hard is difficult to describe. Thick roots are only really useful to hold the tree down so they can be cut really short. For a 5 cm thick trunk I would probably cut all roots to around 5-10 cm all round the trunk and much shorter under the trunk. So much depends what the roots look like and the species though. If there's only long roots with very few fine roots I may leave the roots a bit longer. Azaleas generally have an abundance of fine roots so they don't seem to have any problem with more extreme root reduction.

Azalea wood is pretty tough. A spade might be OK but usually a bit rough. I've had plenty where the attachment is not strong and they can be broken apart with hands only but can be unpredictable and still leaves rough edges that don't heal very well. Sawing will be neater and easier on the tree but don't use your best saw as grit in the roots will quickly blunt the teeth.

Azaleas can be pruned and shaped any time of year. Pruning after flowering is generally recommended but that advice is more aimed at having immediate growth to help help cuts and to avoid removing flower buds so the tree will flower the following spring. Flowering is not generally a priority when developing a bonsai azalea. Better to redirect as much energy to growing the structure than to waste it on short term enjoyment of flowers. Plenty of time to enjoy the flowers when the tree looks better so I often remove flower buds deliberately on azaleas in development stages. That allows me to continue to prune right through to end of autumn if I need to. They can also be pruned in winter but growth will be delayed until the following growth spurt in late spring.
Bark can be severely sunburnt if suddenly exposed to strong sun after reducing the foliage that previously shaded it. I have a couple here to testify to that problem. The bark seems to be OK if exposed gradually at this time of year but your freshly collected trees should not be getting strong, hot sun yet anyway.
http://shibuibonsai.com.au/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Post Reply

Return to “Flowering and fruiting”