Defoliating Deciduous Bonsai

Robert Nocher Shohin Bonsai

The process of defoliation is an essential technique in the development of deciduous bonsai. It allows light into the interior of the tree, which encourages back budding resulting in denser ramification of the branches. The second flush of new leaves that are produced as a result of defoliation are normally much smaller than the first flush.

Trees can be either fully defoliated or partially defoliated. It is a stressful process for a tree to have all or most of its leaves removed during the growing season and it should only be carried out when you are sure that the tree is strong and healthy. Full defoliation is the more stressful of the two. It’s a useful technique to use on a finished tree, when you are thinking of putting it into a show and you want the leaves to look as small and as fresh as possible. Partial defoliation is less risky…

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