Defoliated Jaboticaba leaves only growing back on one side?

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Defoliated Jaboticaba leaves only growing back on one side?

Post  krapart on Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:37 pm

This is my first question on the forum here, so please be kind if I fail to provide some vital info Smile
I'm also fairly new to Bonsai so any sort of advice would be appreciated.

I have a jaboticaba tree which I got through a workshop about a year ago.
I kept it in its nursery pot over the winter and then re-potted into a bonsai pot this spring.

I did some fairly heavy root trimming, and also de-foliated the entire tree... which I've now learned might have been bad to do all at once.

Now I'm running into a strange problem where my leaves have grown back on only one side of the tree, on a lower section.
There are leaf buds all over the tree, but most of them are pretty stagnant. They're not drying up on the trunk, but also not growing.
The few leaves that are there have been browning somewhat, so I'm starting to think it needs some more shade.

When I asked around, someone suggested that my roots might be unbalanced. And that would make sense.
But my real question is... is this going to be a fatal mistake?
What is my best course of action for not losing the tree altogether, assuming it hasn't already gone too far.

I'm sure a photo would be helpful, so I will post that asap.
But I figured it'd be good to get this question up sooner than later.

Thanks in advance!!

krapart
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Re: Defoliated Jaboticaba leaves only growing back on one side?

Post  coh on Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:46 pm

A photo would be helpful. Some questions - what conditions have you been keeping the tree in (full sun, part shade), what kind of soil did you use, exactly how much of the roots did you remove? And when did you repot.

Generally it's not a bad idea to cut back the top when you remove roots, but total defoliation may have been a bit too much. Lots of things could be going on...if you removed all the leaves and didn't adjust watering, you could be damaging the roots that are left (if they stay too wet). If the weather there has been really sunny and hot like it has here, the new buds trying to grow might not be getting enough water from the reduced (or damaged) roots.

coh
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defoliating

Post  geoffm5eay on Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:59 pm

Severe stress can kill a tree, that was too much for one year. I do not like complete defoliating any tree, I think it is too much. and I would never defoliate the same year as re potting. Hopefully the tree will recover in time, but it has been setback. I would also ask why did you defoliate anyway? If the tree is not just about finished then it is counterproductive.

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Re: Defoliated Jaboticaba leaves only growing back on one side?

Post  krapart on Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:29 pm

Thabks for the responses.
Here are a couple photos.




The close up is from the same angle, top of the tree.

The soil is Hoffman's bonsai soil.
I trimmed the roots back pretty significantly, maybe 40% came off.

It's been in pretty much full sun, and it has been hot and humid here in
Midwest so I've been watering almost daily with a few days off here and there.

The buds in the close up seem to be a little more developed than last time I looked so I don't think I've lost it altogether. Hopefully just a setback.

Regarding why I defoliated it was recommended by the workshop teacher to reduce Leaf size, as it grows to be kind of big and leggy.

That said, I am a beginner and probably did not do enough research or consider everything. I was a bit anxious to do something.

I am thinking of putting it in a shadier spot to help it recover. I don't really have any in my yard so I may have to fabricate some with some sort of cover that still allows some light.

Happy to hear any thoughts.

krapart
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defoliating

Post  geoffm5eay on Sun Aug 14, 2016 8:23 am

The point is that the material you have is very young and needs to grow. The size of the leaves is not important at the moment. Grow the trunk first then grow the branches, then you can start to reduce the leaf size. What has happened is you have slowed the progression of this tree possible for several years. As I said previously, I do not totally defoliate any tree, I do partial that is I will remove the larger leaves, and I would not do this later than end of July to give the secondary growths time to harden off before winter. I don't know the species, but I apply this to all. There are some species that I would never do it to.

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Re: Defoliated Jaboticaba leaves only growing back on one side?

Post  M. Frary on Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:46 am

Whoops!

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Thanks for responses

Post  krapart on Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:56 pm

Geoffm, thanks for the reply.

I understand what you're saying and the trunk > branch > leaves concept is something I need to think about going forward.

I also accept that I've set back it's progress and will take that as a lesson learned.

That said, from this point forward, what is my best plan to mitigate the damage done, as I don't think I've killed it?

Should I still be fertilizing through the rest of summer? Would doing some branch pruning help direct the energy that is left or would that just cause more stress? Keep it Well watered or more on the dry side?

Thanks so much for the help.
I am trying to learn as much as I can.

krapart
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defoliating

Post  geoffm5eay on Sun Aug 14, 2016 6:04 pm

Right now I would not be fertilising, well watered and I would not be pruning at all, others might have a different opinion, but that is mine,
Geoff.

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Re: Defoliated Jaboticaba leaves only growing back on one side?

Post  coh on Sun Aug 14, 2016 6:56 pm

You need to get those buds growing. I have one jaboticaba and my experience is that it's a pretty resilient species. My jaboticaba was obtained during the first bonsai class I took. We brutalized the plants...cut the tops way back, removed most of the roots and crammed them into a small bonsai container, and the plants came back strong. And that was in the fall (September or October), not the ideal time to do that kind of work on tropicals.

However...I have since found that buds will sometimes dry up and drop off if the plant gets too dry during the budding period. So be careful of the watering. The tricky thing (especially if you're new at this) is that you can damage roots by over-watering and that can also cause the buds to dry up and drop. If that Hoffman soil (and I'm not familiar with it) is well-drained, and the container has good drainage, it is relatively difficult to over-water, but since the plant has very little foliage it doesn't need all that much water right now. You have to find that balance.

You can fertilize, there is no harm. The plant will use what it needs for the most part and any excess will wash out of the pot. No need to give heavy doses at this point, though. I might keep it out of the hottest sun until the weather starts cooling off, 90-100 deg temps with sun might be too much for those delicate buds, especially if the root system hasn't recovered yet.

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Thanks!

Post  krapart on Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:48 pm

Thanks for your input COH!

I see that you're from Rochester, which is where the teacher of my workshop is from, so I'm glad to get your input.
I know that its also a similar climate to Chicago, so this is helpful.

The Hoffman soil, for the record, is fairly well draining.
However, it does have a lot of silt and fine particles, which I probably should have sifted out.

I've moved the tree into a shadier spot and plan to keep a close eye on it.
Fingers crossed.

Thanks again everybody




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