VincentBlack77
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2008 2:02 pm
Location: Woking, Surrey, The UK

Defoliation - when, how and why?

I have heard people taking on this and other frums about something called Defoliation.

So I was wondering:

Why should I defoliate my Bonsai?

When should I do it?

How do I do it?

I am new to Bonsai and I have a real thirst to learn as much about it as I can, so any help would be great. :D

Thanks, Vince

arboricola
Senior Member
Posts: 224
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:07 pm
Location: Minnesota zone 4

Vince;

Defoliating is mostly used on deciduous trees. I don't advise it for tropicals or flowering trees and never for conifers. It's completely stripping all leaves from the tree.

The method is used to reduce leaf size and encourage branching. I use it when I have to transplant a tree during growing season to help reduce shock.

June, July, and August is the best time. You don't want to wait too late or the tree will not resprout. Doing it any earlier will serve no purpose.

A better method is leaf cutting. Cut larger leaves and always cut the tip. If you leave the tip the tree may not resprout. The tree will put its energy into growing the tip.

After defoliating keep the tree in a shady spot until it resprouts. Do not fertilize before or after and do not overwater.

Phil...

VincentBlack77
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2008 2:02 pm
Location: Woking, Surrey, The UK

Oh ok thanks phil, do you think it is worth me trying it on my Chinese Elm, I rescured it from the Garden Centre I work at. It got pretty chopped up while it was there and it is looking more than a little untidy. I was thinking of just letting it grow out until the spring and then try and restyle it once it hits it's growing season again. What ya think?

Oh and what do you mean by the tip? Sorry I am a total noob when it comes to all this stuff ><

Vince

arboricola
Senior Member
Posts: 224
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:07 pm
Location: Minnesota zone 4

Vince;
I would let the Chinese elm grow. You can over winter it outside with protection or after leaf drop when the overnight temps are around 40F (4C) you can ease it indoors and let it sprout. The Chinese elm does not require a long cold period.

The tip is the growing tip or last leaf on the end of a branch. With the elm you can prune back to 3-4 leaves.

Phil...

VincentBlack77
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2008 2:02 pm
Location: Woking, Surrey, The UK

OK sweet, thanks Phil. I definatly think I will let it grow then. I feel kinda sorry for it a the moment, it looks like a Kid with a REALLY bad hair cut lol.

Thanks for all the advice Phil :D

Vince

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