defoliating season

bonsaiTOM

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When is the best time to defoliate Japanese maple bonsai for leaf reduction? I'm in a cold region of upstate NY. The tree is quite healthy and I'm considering doing this for the first time. :confused:
 

jk_lewis

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Shortly after the leaves harden off.
 

bonsaiTOM

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Thank you jkl!!

My scenario is this. I plan to show the tree at our club show May 14-15. Could I still defoliate after that and, hopefully, have it lookin' good again in early July?

Tall order, huh? :D

Again, thanks. I do appreciate the tips.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Timing to defoliate is probably good, but looking back over my notes, it seems that 6 weeks might be a little optimistic to expect it to be full again. If you didn't repot it this year, your chances improve. If you did, it might have some unevenness in leaf size and coverage at 6 weeks.
 

bonsaiTOM

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I agree it may not be the best plan with these time constraints. This tree was not re-potted this year and is not real big. What I might try is the method of removing only the largest leaves and/or clip others in half. But not the whole tree at one time.

Further comments welcome.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Depends on what you're trying to do. You probably know full defoliation will reduce leaf size in the next budding; partial defoliation should encourage new buds closer to the trunk, but not encourage much new growth this year.

Last year, I removed 1 leaf from each pair of leaves to get sunlight into the interior and it really slowed the transpiration and root growth. It still looked "presentable" for the rest of the year, so it may be an option for you as well. I think it stimulated some internal budding this year, but leaves are definitely smaller this year.
 

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Alex DeRuiter

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Just curious, Tom, are you going to the show at Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, MI? I only ask because their show is on May 14 and 15.
 

bonsaiTOM

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Brian, This is very helpful. Great comparative photos. Thanks very much. NICE tree. I think that I will try your technique.

axxonn, No, our local club in Utica has a show in Little Falls, NY. I see that mid-May is very popular for spring shows. Avoids Mothers Day weekend (today) and Memorial Day weekend. Rochester has the premier regional show & sale the week following ours. We try not to 'compete'. :eek:
 
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