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Liquidamber defoliation

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Liquidamber defoliation Empty Liquidamber defoliation

Post  jakjak999 Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:55 am

Newbie here - does anyone know the best time to defoliate a liquidamber styracifolia (advanced tree)?

jakjak999
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Post  Marty Weiser Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:15 am

No experience with the species as bonsai (have tried to start seeds without luck). However, based upon the growth habit not being that different from maples I would suggest after the first flush of leaves harden off. My suggested approach for an advanced tree would be:
- Pinch back the shoot after it has pushed out two leaves.
- Allow them to harden off a bit
- Cut both leaves back by about 60-70% (partial defoliation).
If the tree was still in development of the secondary branches I would modify the first step to allow the shoot to reach 4-5 new leaves and then cut back to 2.

The issue with full defoliation is that it tends to overly weaken the tree if applied in multiple years. Yes, there are practitioners who can do this for many years in a row. However, they have figured out how to keep their trees really strong. For most of us, particularly newbies, it is better to take an approach that does not stress the tree as much. I have found partial defoliation to be much more effective on my trident maples (a very strong species) than full defoliation.

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Post  jakjak999 Thu Jan 07, 2021 12:07 am

Thx Marty - will give it a go

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