Azalea - Developing New Branches

Monday, February 1, 2010

Azalea - Developing New Branches

An advanced stage in the development of a Satsuki azalea. There are at least three flower variations in this photo: white, pink and pink and white striped. Satsuki azaleas are renowned for their vast and varied range of flowers. The bonsai artist’s name is not mentioned.
Azaleas respond extremely well to pruning during most of the growing season. You can cut off all the branches and new shoots will appear from the stubs. You can even whack the trunk down to almost nothing and new shoots will spring forth from whatever is left. This and other features like small leaves, small and beautiful flowers and easy adaptability to container culture, make azaleas a favorite for bonsai enthusiasts.

Many of the tips provided in this and subsequent azalea posts will work with other types of trees. However, bear in mind that most of the trees are not as forgiving as azaleas, so do not get carried away
Leave stubs where you want new branches. If a bonsai has been neglected, it might be necessary to remove the old branches and start over. If you leave stubs where you want to grow new branches, shoots will grow from them and you will have a head start.
Notching to lower brances. Normaly you want the branches to grow a little downwards. This helps creating a feeling of age. This technique works with most types of trees, provided you don’t make the notch too deep or get careless and break the branch. Once you have made the notch and secured the branch’s new lower position with wire, be sure to treat the wound with cut paste.
The same tree at a later, more refined stage. Most of the changes have to do with development of secondary and tertiary branching. Upcoming posts in this series will provide a few tips on how to achieve this type of refinement.


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