JTred
Green Thumb
Posts: 380
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:05 am
Location: Elizabeth, PA

Quick question about defoliation

When you guys defoliate a tree, do you also remove all terminal buds? I know this is essential for schefflera, but in many of the write-ups I've seen for ficus it makes no mention of terminal buds. I ask because when I defoliated my ficus I left most of the terminal buds intact, and I ended up with relatively little back budding and long twigs with leaves only at the ends. It seems logical that the terminal buds should go along with the leaves, but I didn't know if this was true.

User avatar
bonsaiboy
Greener Thumb
Posts: 892
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2007 1:54 am
Location: Earth

I would suspect that if your intent is to make the tree 'fill out', then yes, you would need to remove the terminal buds.
הדמיון הוא יותר חשוב מאשר ידע

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

JTred,

I agree with bonsai boy but perhaps you can take it one step further. Why not use the opportunity to prune the secondary, or tertiary, branches back a few nodes. By shortening such branches you force the new growth closer to the trunk. This will help with ramification and, hopefully, promote more uniform back budding.

Norm

JTred
Green Thumb
Posts: 380
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:05 am
Location: Elizabeth, PA

You know what, most of the defoliation articles I read were about reducing leaf size and not increasing ramification. I'll have to give it another try come Spring. Thanks guys.

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

JTred,

If you think about it, defoliation does reduce leaf size but only temporarily. The real benefit of defoliation comes in increasing ramification. It may not be obvious but having more leaves to support means that each individual leaf must remain smaller. So there are both short, and long, term aspects to this technique.

Norm

Return to “BONSAI FORUM”