defoliation before show

Joe Dupre'

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We have a club show this coming weekend, and I'm getting a few trees ready. It's an awkward time, as my deciduous trees are getting tired looking with their leaves are starting to turn. For instance , this chinese elm's leaves are turning brown and I would maybe like to show it as a bare tree. Would it be proper to defoliate it now? Would it weaken the tree?

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0soyoung

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Defoliation always weakens the tree, but it will not impair the health of a vigorous tree.

What would have been wise is to know how long it takes the tree to produce new foliage. Then you would have defoliated that much time before now and you would have had a tree with fresh foliage for the show.

On the other hand, it seems reasonable to me to show a tree 'in season' with the timing of the show. So maybe you partially defoliate in a fashion that reflects fall. A few, well placed, ugly brown leaves would just do the trick, IMHO.

What do you think the club expects to see?
 

Joe Dupre'

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Well, our club is really low-key. Almost anything goes. No judging....no ribbons. It's mainly a show for the public......to introduce them to the hobby. I like your idea of "in season" , with a few brown leaves. In the spirit of "almost anything goes", last year our club president made a "rock planting" using a bunch of odd pieces of black 2x4's nailed together with shohin and mame sized trees scattered about it. People seemed to like it.
 
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If anything goes, keep the foliage on.
Maybe put it out in an open field for a night or two to induce more fall colors/behavior. Making use of natural processes.

I'm not a deciduous kind of person, but I would expect deciduous trees in fall to look the part; sad and a bit under the weather, in between the seasons so to speak. It's their nature.
 

Zach Smith

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We have a club show this coming weekend, and I'm getting a few trees ready. It's an awkward time, as my deciduous trees are getting tired looking with their leaves are starting to turn. For instance , this chinese elm's leaves are turning brown and I would maybe like to show it as a bare tree. Would it be proper to defoliate it now? Would it weaken the tree?

View attachment 269724
It's hard to kill a Chinese elm, Joey. I have the same problem you do, tired late summer foliage. I'm thinking of showing my swamp maple that may or may not be doomed. Foliage looked pretty bad a month ago so I defoliated it. Then the cool weather came. The tree looks nice in its winter wear.
 

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