Yellowing satsuki leaves, noo!

Hahaha. Yes mine too. How cold does it get where you are in the winter? Do you provide any winter protection for it?

Hi Bonsai Bentley, the yellowing of the leaves is normal. However I notice that you have some flower buds without green leaves surrounding them. This is definitely not normal. Have you missed watering at all? The branches appear slightly leggy and weak. It may be that your particular variety behaves in this way, but I’m not sure. What variety is it?

I honestly don’t know. I bought it from a lady who’s mom passed away. Her mom was the one that practiced bonsai. I definitely haven’t missed watering. If anything I had been watering too much. The plant is in desperate need of a hard pruning. Idk how many years it’s been neglected, but the branches are way too lignified. I’m debating on what to do first next year. Repot or prune. Idk how long it’s been in this pot, but there’s a definite slowdown in peculation. In the azalea stream Peter mentioned that these need to be repotted and pruned often. This is in need of both.

I don’t provide it with any extra winter protection. It rarely gets too cold here and azaleas will grow in the landscape. The coldest it’s been so far is 38*.

I think the issue was over watering. In the same stream Peter mentioned that these love water. I may have taken that too literally as I’m a very literal person. :frowning_face: I agree with you though @Keith-in-UK, the fact that those buds didn’t have a lot of foliage around them alarmed me. I wonder if I should remove most of them.

There seems to be little or no winter growth round the buds but it’s a hard one not knowing the variety, although I’m pretty sure all azaleas (whatever the variety) behave in the same way. It should definitely have put on winter leaves. I have a garden centre azalea which has behaved in the same way as my satsukis. Did it have a lot of summer leaves? Did you treat it for vine weevil? Do you water it from a waterbutt or from your house water and if house water is it hard water? I would definitely lift it from its pot to check. it may be that the roots are so compacted as to make watering directly under the trunk impossible. If so it would be a simple case of dunking it in a bowl of water.

This is it in the summer. That picture was taken on September 21st. It dropped a bunch of leaves when the weather started getting cooler. I’d say mid November or so. I kept up with watering then too, but backed off when the leaves dropped and I noticed that it was staying pretty soggy. The problem is that idk how this plant behaves. It’s a legacy tree that I picked up this year. Water percolates at the edges a bit slowly, but always seemed to do well around the trunk.

Here’s a recent pic of it. Taken on December 12th.

Something drastic has happened since September. If it was mine I would definitely be inspecting the roots. You don’t have to disturb them at first, just check there’s no rotting going on and you can ascertain if your watering has been successful by checking moisture levels by sticking a matchstick under the trunk for a few minutes. Next, check for spider mites or other nasties and treat if needed. If it’s none of the above it’s a waiting game. You do have some winter leaves but not as many as you have buds. It could be it had been a bit neglected prior to you getting it. I don’t think it’s time to panic yet. I always pot azaleas every two years at the most. Growing on ones every year.

It definitely has been neglected. The shop owner was sick for quite some time. I suspect that the roots are horrible, but I didn’t want to touch them until spring. I’ll look it over thoroughly tomorrow since I’ll be working from home.

Could it be an issue of light? It may get 5-6 hours of direct morning sunlight. Thanks for the help!

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I wouldn’t mind getting 5 - 6 hours of morning sunlight, never mind the trees :smile:
I don’t think so. Unless it’s unusually warm, but then you would see weak growth emerging. All mine are in the greenhouse for the winter now and the temperature hasn’t got above ten degrees © for a long time and the sun is on strike round here. Tonight we’ll be down to -4. If you’re worried about lifting it from it’s pot try sticking a long match into the soil and leaving it for about an hour. When you pull it out you’ll be able to judge if it’s too wet or too dry.

It stormed here today, so hopefully it got a decent amount of water. There was growth on the trunk. Just this one sprout haha. Now I’m all freaked out. Poor tree. :sob:

Here’s a before and after of the trunk. I spent 4 hours cleaning it up.

Then I filled the rot with putty. Same kind of stuff that Peter Warren used to fill the hollow in the Japanese maple stream. Treated the deadwood with PC wood hardener.

Did the stick test this morning. Had a time finding an entry point, but eventually got it. It’s definitely not an issue of not enough water lol. I think it’s a combination of things. The tree being neglected and it’s been Lord knows when since its last repotting and my watering almost too religiously. I’ve got a full bag of kanuma waiting for it though. It’s just a waiting game at this point I guess. :confused:

Hey @Bonsai_Bentley that’s a nice specimen you have there. It’s beautiful…that bathing said I think you don’t need to worry as much a you have been about its leaf dropping. My azaleas so a few things in winter, all of them drop olds leaves to some degree. I have some that drop about 1/3 to 1/2 of the leaves, always keeping the terminal leaves and buds, the remainder them a dark reddish-green color until spring. A few others drop most of their leaves and the remainder turn various colors of green and yellow, again keeping the terminal leaves around the buds. One azalea that I acquired 2-3 years ago completely defoiliates and all I have left are dormant terminal buds. In all cases, watering needs to be adjusted. I check them daily and it seems I water every 48-72 hours during the dry periods of the fall and winter. If the day is warm which in Texas is common I may end of watering daily until the days cool off again and the soil remains moist for longer.

Hi @Bonsai_Bentley, that’s a relief. I think these latter photos give a clearer picture than the others. You can definitely see the winter resting leaves and they look a healthy green. So we know it’s a problem with the roots, probably a bit pot bound as you say. I think repotting and removing the flower buds in march would be the wisest option for next year to build up its strength. If its still pushing out growth then it must be fairly warm where you are. Mine are all tucked up and snoozing for the winter. Do let me know how things go with it.

Hi @ndavila80, when you say dormant terminal buds do you mean the flower buds? I’ve never heard of an azalea losing all of its leaves over winter. The only ones I know keep the winter resting leaves around the flower buds, but please don’t think I’m not calling you a liar, I am mighty curious and hopefully it may be available in the UK. I’m trying to build up a collection of a many different varieties as I can. What variety is it?

I have a single satsuki, and some others I’ve inherited over time through gifts, exchange and as a caretaker and now are owner. Too many varieties and hybrids exist (>2000) and I’m no expert on them. That being said they behave as I described. Yes flower buds which are set during the latter spring and mid-late summer. @Bonsai_Bentley that definitely can be done. I use to prevent flowering by removing, but I grew tired of doing that quickly and now I let them bloom. I just remove the old blooms to prevent them from setting seeds to preserve energy. Its a win for me and my wife as we get to enjoy the flowers and its less work for me to keep up with.

That’s really interesting. Please share a photo of it in flower next year, maybe we can attempt to categorise it. Thanks…

That I will certainly do.

Okay, phew. I was close to the point of being able to water it with my own tears. :sob: I want to let it flower some because at this point I have no idea what it is. I had planned on removing the buds though to prevent losing power to seeding. I’ll definitely post pics when it does. Thanks for the help everyone!

some pictures from green to eed.

I must also be in another azalea thread. Anywho, mine is pushing out new leaves now. Must be the longer days since the winter solstice. I was worried for a bit lol.