The best part of growing satsuki is when they are in full blooms but they only peak for about two weeks and then begin to decline. When 30-40% of the flowers have faded, it is time to remove all the flowers, fertilize the tree and do the after-flowering maintenance work.
Why the After-Flowering Maintenance?
- Flowers use up a lot of the tree’s energy. It is better to remove all of them, including the unopened buds, when 30-40% of the flowers have faded. Fertilize the tree to thank it for putting out a good show, then selectively trim back shoots and branches to improve air flow and allow sunlight into the interior.
- The purpose of trimming shoots is to control growths, force back buddings and improve ramifications. One can select which branch to trim or which one to allow continuous growth to improve the overall tree structure.
I will use this 4-5 year old Osakazuki grown from a cutting to show how the shoots are trimmed after flowering.
Trimming Whorl Forming Shoots
Azaleas tend to develop a whorl of several shoots coming out from a single point. For ramification we only need to keep two shoots at each branching point.