Defoliation – News From the Bonsai Garden

Under the care of our new Bonsai Curator Tom Kehoe, several Bonsai in the James J. Smith Bonsai Collection have been [simple_tooltip content=’Defoliation is simply cutting off foliage (leaves). Though the word defoliation is used outside of bonsai to describe conditions caused by chemicals or disease, it is distinctive to bonsai as an styling technique.’]defoliated[/simple_tooltip], had root masses reduced and have been repotted with fresh soil.

These trees are not dead…

Many Bonsai masters in Japan will actually defoliate their trees for major exhibitions for better appreciation of the fine branching (ramification) of the structure. Defoliation is commonly used for three purposes: reducing leaf size, increasing ramification and redirecting energy.

In five to six weeks these trees will rebound, putting out new, smaller leaves. Below the soil, many new fine roots will have grown, supplying food to the Bonsai.

This is part of the routine care of the trees and should be done to every tree in the collection about once every six to seven years depending on the rate of growth.

Enjoy Mr. Smith’s Garden…