Part 22 of a series by Eugene Howell
This is a continuation of an article on bonsai leaf reduction by defoliating. In the previous article we learned that if a bonsai loses all its leaves during the growing season, it will replace them with new ones, but that the new leaves will be smaller than the original ones. Thus we have one technique for reducing leaf size; complete defoliation of the tree.
When the leaves are removed the tree maintains life by using its stored food, so completely defoliating a tree too frequently is not recommended unless you happen to live in a subtropical area like South Florida. In temperate parts of the country it’s recommended that defoliating a bonsai be done only once each year because the tree must be given enough time (with leaves) to store up food to get through the winter. In Florida our evergreen trees do not go completely dormant and deciduous trees are dormant for only a few weeks. So a large store of food isn’t necessary. Thus, here in Florida defoliating bonsai can be done in late Spring, and again in late Summer.
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