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Japanese Maple Bonsai Defoliated, no Regrowth :(

Months ago our Japanese maple bonsai fell victim to bad sunburn :( I researched everywhere online, talked to some professionals, posted on many, many forums and decided we needed to defoliate. We watched a lot of videos, etc. and carefully removed every damaged leaf at the very end of each twig. We thought in 4 - 5 weeks we'd see some regrowth, but it's been almost 4 months and nothing. My husband is convinced it's dead, but I'm still hopeful. I'm wondering if we'll see growth with the weather cooling down? We live in the southeast U.S. (GA) and the temps the last few months have been awful. I'm attaching a few recent pictures of our bonsai. We've continued to water it, not too much, though. It's kept outdoors and now gets plenty of shade. His buddy growing right beside him is doing very well!! Any help is much appreciated!
Bonsai 5.jpg
Bonsai 4.jpg

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Re: Japanese Maple Bonsai Defoliated, no Regrowth :(

Ummm.... I'm not seeing anything that looks like a bonsai to me. I see a pot with two trees in it.

The large tree looks possibly dead. The way to tell is first to break a small branch/twig. If it snaps easily and is dry inside, it is dead. If so, scrape the bark of the trunk with a fingernail. If under the bark it is green and moist, the tree is still alive. If it is grey/ brown and dry, it is dead.

The small one looks healthy and with more bonsai potential, but should not be in the same pot with the large tree.

Although the word bonsai literally means tree in a pot, the art of bonsai is more than that. It is to create a tree that gives the illusion of being a full-sized old tree with character, somehow miniaturized.


This shows the elements of a bonsai including: nebari, which are above the surface radiating roots, that give the tree a visual foundation and "rootedness;" thick trunk relative to the tree size with pronounced taper; "movement" which is changes in direction of the trunk, curvature, slant, something that carries your eye along through the lines of the tree; orderliness of branches with alternating directions and clean lines with space between.
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Re: Japanese Maple Bonsai Defoliated, no Regrowth :(

Yep Japanese maple is actually pretty tough, so no leaves doesnt always mean dead.. try breaking off branches as suggested. Dry and snaps easily = dead. Keep breaking off the same branch and see if you can find living section closer to the trunk. -- I've done this ...well DO this every spring to remove winterkilled branches, and have had entire, 1 inch diameter, 2 feet long branch break off using force intended to break off twig tips. Dead is dead, live ones wont break.

If it has started to get cooler already, the tree may just go dormant and not come back until spring.
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Re: Japanese Maple Bonsai Defoliated, no Regrowth :(

If you scrape down to inner bark, and that inner bark is dry and brown. Things don't look good for the home tree.
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