Monday, January 27, 2014

  Defoliation is a technique in Bonsai, which most of us have done at some time or other.The main purpose of defoliation is to promote the formation of more leaf buds and refined branching.This technique when done on broad leafed trees, can promote the formation of smaller leaves.
 Defoliation should be done only on trees with well established root system and strong  trunk with lateral branches.Well established trees can be defoliated once in two years.
 When to defoliate:  The best time for defoliation is January and February ie. before the onset of summer. Around this time most trees would be out of a temporary period of inactivity and getting ready for new growth.In nature itself one can see most of the trees defoliating around this time of the year. Some times if the bonsai tree is in tune with nature , it will defoliate itself.
 Defoliation at the beginning of summer is best, as the tree can utilize all the stocks,it has replenished during the short slumber period.
While defoliating,if partial or total removal of terminal and lateral growth tips is done,it will stimulate the growth of several lateral branches.When all the leaves are removed, sunlight will be infused into the center of
the tree, promoting more vigorous growth.
How it is done :: Snip off the entire leaf, leaving only the petiole or the leaf stalk.If any part of the leaf is left, or if it is cut only in half,the plant will concentrate its energy
on that part of the leaf without producing new leaves.
After the process, keep the tree in partial sunlight and water sparingly. A big no to fertilizers as it will induce the formation of bigger leaves again.New leaves should start coming out within a fortnight.
For a bonsai enthusiast, it is any exhilarating sight to see your tree bursting out in a thick riot of tender young leaves.

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