How do We Deal with a Dead Topped Azalea?
It seems so very common, azaleas that lose their tops. A stressed out azalea will often give up what it cares about least, which is its crown. But then it can be troublesome to recreate what was there.
This tree came into the yard recently with just this problem. If anything, it was a severe case, as the dead top had created two shari lines down the tree, front and back, like a juniper or pine might have. So during a Seasonal Workshop we unpuzzled this mess with the following solution…
Enjoy our photo essay of this Satsuki remake-
A Satsuki azalea that lost its top.
The front of the tree is all dead now, one long shari line from roots to top.
Removing one side of its branches…
Here is the dead area, the chalk line roughly tracing the living tissue which is to the right of the line.
…and our solution comes out of the box…
Removing half the tree, so that we might root the sides of it and make a raft style.
The tree in the training container, laid down on its side to create a raft—with the branches rising up to become trunks.
Placing muck on the rootball. Eventually this root mass will be entirely removed, after roots coming from the sides of the prostrate trunk have taken over.
Placing sphagnum on the area we want to root. We did use some rooting hormone, although azaleas root quite easily.
This is the only ‘as it looks today’ shot I have, so I’ll try to circle around to this azalea in the future-