Additional Partial Defoliation questions:

I have another two questions regarding the partial defoliation presentation:
1- Does it apply to Quince which I understand can be reluctant to back bud. Does anyone have experience with this species?
2- Is there a horticultural reason to reduce the leaf size as Ryan demonstrates it?
I find that aesthetically, I prefer to make a somewhat diagonal cut that reduces one side of the leaf more than the other, retaining more of the edge and profile of the original leaf. I have been pleased with the visual appearance of Viburnum and Cornus Mas that have received this treatment, but I am now wondering if there may be some horticultural reasoning to retain 2 equal leaf sides that I have not considered. Thanks for your thoughts.

2 - regarding the cut, I don’t think the shape matters. It’s just about reducing the surface area of the leaf to reduce photosynthetic productivity.

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The smaller veins come out from the central vein at an angle. If a one sided cut is at a steeper angle than this then there will parts of the leaf that are not connected to the central vein and the rest of the tree. A two sided cut which cuts across all of the smaller veins eliminates this issue. However, I can see where a one sided cut at the right angle might look better and work as well.

Marty’s point is very valid. You may lose parts of the beautifully cut leaf if you disconnect them. My personal preference is balanced on both sides but quite narrow so the leaf stub looks pointy (birch like). That seems a better aesthetic than a flatter cut.

On quince I don’t know but it sounds like an ideal candidate for an experiment. It would have to be vigorous and healthy for sure. I think Ryan said that it could apply to any deciduous or broad-leaf tree if it was healthy enough and was at the right stage of development. I guess if it fails to respond you’ve either not reduced enough or it’s too weak and may give up altogether. Perhaps an answer from Ryan or don’t try it on your prize tree first!

Thank you for your replies.
It took some readings to realize I had mis-typed question #1 - I meant to say Gingko!
And that takes me back to question #2 - how would you cut a Gingko leaf?
I wondered about cutting out the centre - sort of like a set of maple seeds.

For gingko I would still fold and cut along the out margins to keep vein continuity. However, I might try to cut in a curved path starting with the end of the central vein from an aesthetic standpoint. if you are really detail oriented, you could cut the central vein shorter and then loop around as a smaller version of the original leaf. I would not bother unless it was going into a show very soon.

I’m not following you on your Gingko suggestion. The leaf has a central split and 2 smaller slits dividing it into 4 triangular segments. The veins flow down the leaf from the top stem.
I could cut up one side of the central vein leaving the other half of the leaf - this would leave the smallest cut edge exposed to drying. Or I could cut off each side and leave the central half leaf with the split. Both of these options only remove 1/2 rather than 2/3s of the leaf.
I have a small sapling which lost its head when the fir fell. It has bounced back strongly and a partial defoliation will only involve 14-15 leaves. LoL I would like to encourage some back budding towards the bottom of the trunk.
I’m new with relatively few trees, and I don’t see exhibition in my future, I do appreciate leaves that have the line and appearance of the original leaf, fluttering in the wind.

I now understand what you mean about the angle of the veins.

The plus side of having few trees means that I have the time to treat every leaf as an individual.
The negative side is that I really dislike the 2/3 cut of the folded leaf because it so obviously alters the leaf shape. (I will admit it worked well on the Katsura.)

I have partially defoliated 2 Quince by cutting parallel to a vein on the larger side of the leaf, hopefully eliminating the problem of disconnection which you pointed out.

Todays experiment:
I partially defoliated the Gingko by cutting 2 out of every 3 leaves in 1/2 and completely removing the 3rd leaf. Cutting the leaf in 1/2, up the centre vein again eliminated disconnection. Eleven 1/2 leaves and four full leaves were removed, hopefully maintaining the 2/3 reduction of solar panels.

we have a Gingko partial defoliation discussion in another thread. Ginkgo Partial defoliation Yes or No?

  • The jury on the experiment there if it will produce a second flush at all is still out. So now i guess we increased our test sample.

If you will not get any additional growth out of the reduction there will be an issue with the energy resources.

My Ginkgo are creating new buds low on the trunk (basally dominant) also w/o any defoliation.

Thanks for the link Antelion.
I have saplings in comparison to the older specimen being discussed in the Yes or No? thread so it will be interesting to see if response varies because of age.

OMG - I seem to have a back bud on the Gingko that was partially defoliated on June 1.
Is that possible or is the tree responding to some previous injury or encounter? I did not examine the tree closely enough to know if the back bud was in evidence prior to the PD. .

where is the bud located? i had lots of basally starting buds this year on both my trees.

The bud is between the two branches at the top of the sapling - definitely pre-bonsai - but I would like to encourage some basal action.

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The tree was damaged in the spring. It was cut back to undamaged areas.