A number of my azaleas have been slow to leaf out this year. Here’s an example.
As you can see, the foliage is anemic and the old leaves curve downward. It’s the first time I’ve seen these symptoms so I checked my satsuki books and talked with friends who have good experience with azaleas. I couldn’t find a reference to curled leaves in print and my friends didn’t have much experience with this either.
We all agreed that the roots weren’t happy and that I’d have to be careful with the watering (thanks, Darren!). The most dramatic suggestion came from a satsuki grower in Japan who suggested a hard cutback. I thought I’d give it a try.
After cutback – 16″
The idea is that the roots aren’t able to support the existing foliage and that stimulating new growth can result in healthier roots and foliage.
I don’t know if this will work, but I do know that many satsuki are imported after similar cutback is performed on the foliage and on the roots.
Were the tree growing more vigorously, I would have waited for the flowers to open and then cut back to two leaves per branch. Instead, I’m hitting the reset button and will have to wait another year before enjoying the flowers.
Here’s another tree that got the same treatment.
Kozan – 25″
Although it’s hard to see in the photo above, I left more foliage near the apex than I did on the lower branches.
Apex after cutback
Branch after cutback
I’ll report on the results of this work later this year.
News & Updates
Lotus Bonsai Nursery & Gardens is hosting their annual Spring Sale next weekend on May 15-16 in Placerville, CA. The event features 20% off of plants (pre-bonsai and refined specimens), pots, and stones. Learn more about Lotus at: http://www.lotusbonsai.com.
New trees and pots are available from Peter Tea at https://www.ptbonsai.com. A broad selection of conifers, deciduous, and broadleaf evergreen trees are available at different stages of development. Shipping is available on some, but not all trees. Learn more at https://www.ptbonsai.com.
The California Bonsai Society has announced that the Ben Oki Bonsai Scholarship Fund will be awarding two grants of one thousand dollars each to successful applicants this year. Learn more about the fund and how to apply at https://www.facebook.com/californiabonsaisociety.
Subscribe to Bonsai Tonight
New Posts Delivered Every Tuesday and Friday