Some Work on a Large Azalea Bonsai

My friend Gerry brought this large azalea bonsai over to my place this week to get some advice and to begin the work of shaping it into a really nice bonsai.

The first picture was taken last year on the day he acquired it from Wattston Bonsai. This is a fantastic tree with a terrific nebari but it has some issues. The movement at the top of the trunk is going in the opposite direction to the movement at the base.

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The first task was to get it firmly planted in a suitable training pot. This was done last year at the time of purchase. The next picture shows Gerry with the tree immediately after we re-potted it.

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One year later, it’s firm in the pot and it’s put on a lot of new growth also. Now is the time to take action to correct the unnatural movement in the trunk.

The next picture shows the impressive nebari which is the best feature of this tree.

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The main trunk has to be reduced in height to correct the natural movement of the tree. The top of the trunk will make an interesting tree in its own right, so rather than cut it off, we have decided to air layer it.

The lower branches on the right hand side of the tree will be allowed to extend to accentuate the movement in the lower trunk

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Close-up of the area that is being air layered. I will watch this air layer carefully throughout the remainder of the season and we plan to remove next year if all goes well.

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4 thoughts on “Some Work on a Large Azalea Bonsai

  1. I bet the air layer will root out sooner than you think 😉 I made some in my trees and in only 7wks they were full of roots. Add some rooting hormone against the cambium will really speed up the process and I have much more reliable results with the rooting hormones with most species.

  2. Hi Robert,did you have any success with this air layer,what technique did you use,did you remove a ring of bark.

    • the air layer was removed just over a year ago and its still alive. Cant remember exactly how I did it Phil, but I only have 2 techniques that I’ve used. I either cut the ring directly with a Stanley knife and scrape off any residual cambium or I nibble round it with knob cutters and clean up the edges with a Stanley knife

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