10529Re: [AZ] Can i plant azalea under my japneses maple tree?
- Jun 1, 2008OK, I will throw in my limited experience on Acer palmatum and growing rhodies. We had a number of seedling japanese maples that had been grown around in the garden. The most vigorous one turned into a tree with a thick trunk and not about 20 feet tall and just became too thirsty for the plants nearby. We had pruned it to keep it open in the canopy for about 10 years but it got unwieldy. So I had John take it down (He cuts I catch the branches and manage the guide ropes). The less vigorous ones are still there and look just fine with lots of rhododendrons and wildflowers underneath. I guess if you are growing named forms that are slow growing you might not want to plant too close in the beginning.
From the discussion I agree with the general thought that if the tree is fairly small to begin with you can incorporate azaleas and rhododendrons around them and they coexist just fine. But if you are talking about a fairly large established tree you are going to have trouble establishing a nice bed without a lot of irrigation. Although mulch helps at first, mounding mulch around the plant will work too but eventually the tree roots will move in.
If anyone sees my garden they are amazed that I have rhododendrons planted right at the base of a number of mature trees, white pines, hemlocks, birch. For some it stunts the plants as they pretty much go into suspended animation for the late summer, for others with pretty vigorous habit it seems to keep them in good form.
CJ Patterson in our chapter was always promoted the use of named Acer palmatum forms in the garden and contends that they are wonderfully compatible with rhododendrons.
Sally Perkins, Salem, NH
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