You defoliate the tree. The new leave spring up . What happens to the defoliated leaf?

Does it stay alive through the season?

does it supply the tree with enough energy until the new growth equals or goes beyond the defoliated leaves and dies./ drop off the tree?

Can you do this type of maintenance to induce a tree to become a better shohin?

Why I say this is–I had a stoke and the heavier trees are too big for me to maintain ?

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Are you referring to partial defoliation when you cut the leaf in half?

In that case, the leaf will still photosynthesize but at a reduced rate (if you cut the leaf in half it’ll generate half as much photosynthesis). It will help keep the tree alive but at a reduced rate.

On its own, the cut leaf will likely stay on the tree as long as it normally would. You can cut it off after the new smaller leaves are out, or leave it on. If you leave it on, the tree will generate more energy over the season making it a bit stronger and everything will thicken a bit more (which may or may not be what you want).


Anyone have experience and can suggest best practice for partial defoliation of Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum)? It has long internodes, long leaf petioles, and compound leaf with 3 leaflets, but really cool flaky bark and generally good fall color.

I have one that I have been converting from a deep nursery pot to a shallow bonsai pot over the past 10 years or so while also thickening the truck a bit. Last year I did a near complete defoliation based upon a suggestion from a bonsai professional as a way to push it back in hard and get the lankiness under control. That worked quite well with lots of new buds even though I lost a few medium and small branches. I repotted into an appropriately sized pot this spring (I need to make a glazed oval of the same size as the unglazed one I had) and it responded with good strong growth - long internodes and petioles included! This in spite of pinching out the center of most shoots as soon as I could get them with tweezers.

I just wired, pruned, and partially defoliated this afternoon removing about 2/3 - 3/4 of the foliage. For the partial defoliation I cut off one of the two leaves in about 1/2 of the cases. For the remaining leaves I cut off the larger side leaflet most of the time and then cut the center one by 2/3, and sometimes the other side one if it had any size. We will see how the tree reacts.

PS It is a good idea to style the tree from the front. I did the bottom couple of branches from the back since that is the side my wife and I had admired at lunch. The good news is that only needed a little fine tuning from the front.

I forgot to mention it looks like there may be buds about 3-6 mm along the extended internode on quite a few branches that I am hoping will develop.

This sounds like a good question for its own thread. Post before and after pics and let everyone know how it worked out. What has your fertilizing schedule been over the past two years as you have made these changes? I was thinking that you might be weakening the tree with the initial PD and that a repot the next year might have goen poorly, but apparently not? Cool tree. It’s one I’ve thought about acquiring and working on so your experiences are definitely of interest.