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mo's bonsai

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Hey buddies,

The more I wonder around on this site, the more I learn to use and understand it. I posted a thread on the wrong forum earlier and now I think I'm at the right forum. Sorry!
My question is about boxwood. Can I deleaf the tree and if so, is spring the best time? Thanks.

Mo
 

buddhamonk

Chumono
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why would you want to defoliate a boxwood? leaves are already pretty small. Anyway - boxwood are evergreen broadleaves and shouldn't be defoliated
 

PaulH

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Boxwoods can be defoliated and I have done it with good result in spring.The defoliation stimulates adventitious budding resulting in greater ramification.
Buddhamonk, you probably know that leaf size reduction is a secondary result of the increased ramification stimulated by defoliation. The increase in ramification, as well as the benefit of being able to wire the branches without leaves is why it is a valuable technique. It is also of value with other evergreen broadleafs like live oak species.
Paul
 

mo's bonsai

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Thanks for the advice Buddhamonk. I thought the same thing too , but I looked up some pictures of older well established boxwood bonsai and I noticed the leaves were smaller than the ones on my tree and the only thing I can think of was that they were periodicaly defoliated. PaulH, Thanks for the info. I am trying to defoliate to get a better picture of my trees branches for wiring and to create new buds for a fuller tree. I like my tree the way it is now thats why I'm nervouse about defoliating but I think I can do more with this tree to make it greater. By the way, How do I insert a picture?

Mo
 

rockm

Imperial Masterpiece
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Defoliation is completely unnecessary with boxwood and can weaken the tree, although boxwood is pretty tough and can survive anyway.

It's also a lot of unnecessary work, as the petiole (leaf stalk on each leaf that connects to the branch) on boxwood is extremely small or virtually non-existent. If you prune the leaf off without cutting through the petiole, you may not stimulate the resting bud at the base of the petiole. If you trim too closely at the leaf/stem joint you could destroy the resting bud--there is VERY little room for error. The new leaves you're hoping to produce are those resting buds (along with a few in the branch itself) In other words, in removing old leaves, you could be removing 80 percent of the new leaves you're hoping to induce the plant to grow.

Internal ramification on box is easily done through detailed hard pruning on old shoots-not leaves. You cannot get ramification by trimming only the outside profile of the plant or by pinching new growth--only growth that has "hardened off" is capable of pushing new leaves.

Hard pruning older and old shoots (mostly anytime in spring and summer) will produce new growth back on the branch. You have to go through the plant branch-by-branch and select hardened twigs and tertiary branches to cut back. This can take several afternoons if it's a larger tree.
 
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mo's bonsai

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Thanks Rockm, I think I will wait untill spring to see the new shoots and make a decision of prunning then. it is only 14" tall and not a huge job to prune. I don't think I will completely defoliate the box only as needed mainly becouse I am scared of harming the tree. Thanks.

Mo
 
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