Are Azaleas root-grafted similar to roses?

Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

I have several azaleas which have not been well cared for for several years during a lengthy illness and treatment period for myself. I just couldn't keep up. So they have not been fed at all, watered minimally.

This past weekend I placed a pine needle covering over the beds and noticed that there were some "non-azalea" leaves (very) nearby. In fact, it appears that the leaves are growing from old growth branches close to the ground. The photo displays the difference.

Are azaleas root-grafted as roses are? I'd never heard of it, but these strange leaves sure have me wondering. And if, in fact, this plant is such a plant, where do I separate the root growth from the desirable above-ground plant? Do I dig below the surface or is it adequate to simply cut that larger stem off above ground?

TIA,
Linda

edited to add: BTW, the picture illustrates the non-desirable plant leaf at the left, growing from a small branch off the larger single stem, with the branch coming off of it just below an apparently clean cut just above it. The desirable plant is illustrated at top right, a single "bouquet" of azalea leaves visible.


This message was edited Oct 21, 2009 11:54 PM

Thumbnail by Twincol
Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)


This photo may provide additional detail proving useful for identification.

Thumbnail by Twincol
Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

Azaleas can be propagated by seed, cuttings and layering. Grafting, like with roses, can also be used but it is rare and would be used for azaleas that are either difficult to root or azaleas that would be grown in areas with very alkaline soil and water pH. Some deciduous native azaleas can fall into the "difficult to root" category. If grafted, you should be able to see where the scion is attached to the root system of the other plant, just as with roses. It is hard to tell without kneeling over and getting a real close up if you could even have another plant/weed tangled in there too. Since azaleas roots are tiny and fibruous, be careful when "researching" because the roots do not like to be disturbed.

Generally speaking, if your soil is not deficient in minerals, your azaleas will do fine with just mulch as fertilizer. I do not fertilize mine and add more acidic mulch anytime I notice that the existing mulch has been breaking down.

Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)


OK, Luis, I'll crawl about on my knees, dig around the root ball, pick apart the "offending" stem, and pull/cut it off if it is attached to my azalea.

Thanks much,
Linda

Danielsville, GA(Zone 7b)

Those larger leaves look like Seralotta Photinia.Maybe comming from an old root, or a stray seedling..Mike

Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

Hmmmm, Mike, cannot find "Seralotta Photinia" anywhere.

So, OK, this weekend I'll dig about a bit to see what I can find. I'll move the soil about directly around the "offending" growth at ground level to see what's there.

Linda (this will be interesting . . . )





This message was edited Oct 29, 2009 6:55 AM

Danielsville, GA(Zone 7b)

Photinia serrulata; Sorry I miss spelled it.Try googling that. Mike

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