When healthy satsuki finish blooming, it’s a great time to thin trees that have grown dense.
Normally this work happens earlier in the growing season but I didn’t get to it on time and I know that the dense foliage will weaken interior growth and invite insects if I wait any longer to prune.
Here’s a medium-sized tree before and after cutting back to two leaves per shoot and removing the old leaves.
Kinsai satsuki azalea – before pruning
After pruning – 15″
The main difference to note is that it’s now possible to see through the foliage which means plenty of light can make it down to the lower branches.
Here’s a close-up of a branch on an exposed root satsuki to show the density I’m aiming for.
After thinning – branch detail
And here’s a shot of the tree from above.
Tree from above
The density looks greater from the front as the pads are relatively flat.
Exposed root Kozan-no-hikari after thinning – 17″
The next step for both trees is to refine the silhouette. Now would be a good time to do the wiring, as would fall or winter so the tree will have a good shape before next year’s foliage fills in.
Subscribe to Bonsai Tonight
New Posts Delivered Every Tuesday and Friday