Here’s Juan Adrade’s English caption for this photo. “Partial defolation on one of the grandfather trees. Close to 100 yrs old." Here's his Spanish caption: "Defoliación de las ramas exteriores en uno de los tridentes del abuelo de mi maestro. Este arbol posiblemente se acerca a los 100 años." Here's our translation of the Spanish: "Defoliation of the exterior branches of one of my teacher's Trident maples. This tree is probably about 100 years old.” You might notice the part about exterior branches in the Spanish. This would indicate that Juan is trying to redirect energy away from the outer tips and down closer to the center of the tree. All the photos in this post are from a series of photos on Juan’s facebook feed.
The photo and part of the caption above are from a post we did last spring titled Defoliating Grandfather. The illustrations and text below are from a July 2009 post titled Energy Balancing #6: Defoliation Tips.
We’re not going to try to reproduce every post we’ve done on defoliation; just reintroduce the notion of defoliation and provide a few examples.
Use sharp scissors to defoliate. Cut in the center of the petiole (leaf stem). If you cut too close to the base of the leaf stem, you may damage the buds that form there.
Don’t use you fingers to pinch or pull leaves off. This is a recipe for damage (the unreadable text with the illustration above says: Don’t pull, it could damage the buds).
Defoliate, then prune
This illustrations go from right to left, Japanese style. Upper right is before. Lower right is next. It shows after defoliation, but before pruning. The message here is; if you are going to prune and defoliate, then defoliate before you prune so you can better see exactly where to prune (within reason; if you know you are going to remove a whole branch, no point in defoliating it). Bottom center is after pruning (the after pruning tag in the illustration is a little out of place).
Defoliation results in better ramification
The two on the left show what the branch might look like later if you hadn’t defoliated (top) and with defoliation (bottom).
All of the illustrations in this post are by Kyosuke Gun. They originally appeared in Bonsai Today issue #3.
Our Bonsai Today back issues provide a wealth of information on a wide range of Bonsai topics. The good newws is that we still have about half of the original 108 issues published and that they are now on Special at Stone Lantern.