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.
Bodhi`s monthly meeting on the 14th December 2013. We had a wonderful inter active secession today at Spaces in Beasent Nagar. The demo by Ms. Molly Cherian on Fusion of trunks and talk about the bonsai Clubs in Singapore by Ms. Satyabama , were very informative. The meeting was well attended. Thank you very much, Molly and Satya. Thank you Dr. Yogesh for the refreshments... From the secretary`s desk..
Trunk Fusion as a Bonsai Technique. Trunk fusion is a method in grafting . In bonsai this technique is useful in making a comparatively large base trunk, in a relatively short time.The taper and style of the tree can be controlled from the initial stage itself. The size of the tree can decided early. Approach grafts are commonly used. Usually one can start with two or more rooted cuttings or saplings.They are secured together with tapes or insulated wires.As the plants grow and swell, the pressure of being firmly held together ,make the pieces fuse together.Once the fusion is achieved, the tapes and wires should be removed. Multiple approach graft involves ,securing cuttings or seedlings side by side to form a big trunk. 50 to 100 cuttings can be used.They should have a good root system to support them.Using raffia or fiber ropes , to initially secure the plants is good to prevent scars. Wiring can be done on top of this. The plants should be placed close to each other, with out any space between them. Gaps will delay the fusion.While the process of arranging the trees is going on , care should be taken to see that the roots are not dried up. So constant misting is needed. Once the whole process of arranging and wiring is over,plant the entire group into a growth pot, with well nourishing soil mix.Once the new growth starts, they should be allowed to grow freely. Bonsai training can start after one year of planting, when all the cuttings are fused together and the wires are removed. Always keep a few spare trees as reserve,so that they can be replaced for any dead ones, in case if there are any. Plants suitable for this type of grafting are different types of Ficus trees, Jade, Schefflera Etc.