leaf size vs competition for light

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leaf size vs competition for light

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:20 am

i have a general question that applies to a specific tree...

i have a willow leaf ficus that always made willow leaf ficus sized leaves, i.e. nice and small...

every winter it gets seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D. Sad ) and drops its leaves,
which i have become used to knowing it will leaf out again as the daylight increases and intensifies.

this year it is leafing out right on schedule, but the leaves are at least twice their normal size...

this winter, my garden window has become increasingly crowded (big surprise, right ? Rolling Eyes )
and so i am wondering if the competition for light could be a factor in the increased leaf size ???
(i do know trees can get "leggy" looking for light, but dont know about leaves getting larger for the same reason)

i ask this in a both a general manner (applicable to other trees as well) and/or specifically to the willow leaf ficus.

thanks !

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Re: leaf size vs competition for light

Post  JimLewis on Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:38 am

The larger the leaf surface the more light it can collect.

But, this isn't clear to me. Is your fig UNDER some of these plants, or in a back row away from the window?

this winter, my garden window has become increasingly crowded (big surprise, right ? Rolling Eyes )
and so i am wondering if the competition for light could be a factor in the increased leaf size ???

If there's merely a lineup of trees at the window, the fig shouldn't be competing for the light; only if distance or shade prevents light from reaching it.

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Re: leaf size vs competition for light

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:28 pm

sorry jim... shoulda been more specific as to location... (i understand that the larger surface area of a leaf = more photosynthesis)

it has been in the cheap seats, furthest from the light...
it is not prevented from getting light, but it is fairly reduced compared to those in the front row...

i just can't think of why else it would be making larger leaves than ever before...

i'm not in a panic as i'm fairly confident that once i get it outside (and defoliate later in the summer) that the next flush will again be normal size...
so i guess this is more of an edgamacational question rather than a "HELP!" question

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Re: leaf size vs competition for light

Post  leatherback on Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:21 pm

Yeah, the darker the tree, the bigger the leaves. Goes for many plant species. (THink olives; You can get the leaves down to a mere few mm. However, my winter foliage is almost 2cm..)

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Re: leaf size vs competition for light

Post  Leo Schordje on Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:37 pm

having seen your window, I don't think low light is the cause of your larger leaves, though in general, low light will give you larger leaves. Because I saw your set up, I'm guessing you hit the ''critical mass'' in terms of number of plants, and your window is staying more humid, more favorable for growth. Plants transpire water into the air, and a group of plants can create its own humidity. My 1300 plant light garden practically creates rain clouds in my basement (just joking, but I need to dump humidity, rather than create more, even in winter)

More humidity means larger healthier leaves able to make more food for the plants. Also fertilizer can cause larger leaves. If you repotted last summer, perhaps the rejuvenated root system is working better. A defoliation in early summer will definitely downsize the leaves.

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Re: leaf size vs competition for light

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:01 pm

well, slap me silly and call me nancy !

thats leo !
you too leatherback !

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