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Partial defoliation of a Japanese Maple

This is my Chishio Improved, which I have been trying to improve little by little over the last 15 years. I have noticed a tendency for the tree to shed interior growth and grow much stronger on the outer areas. A way to combat this tendency is to partially defoliate the tree, removing one leaf out of each pair of leaves throughout the tree. I did leave full pairs intact on the interior branches.

Here is a close up of one branch before:


And another shot showing each pair of leaves marked with a yellow V, and the cut petiole marked with a blue hash mark:

I find the effect is better if I remove the other leaf from the one of the pair I grab. If that makes sense. it’s tedious work, but you can find a groove and move along pretty quickly. This work took 2 hours. From above, the overlapping of leaves is reduced, and light can get into the interior of the tree, hopefully encouraging backbudding.

I also took the opportunity to unwire and lightly prune some of the excessively strong areas, scrape off the crusty layer of soil and top-dressing of sphagnum moss, and replace it with a fresh layer of akadama. A shot before:

And after:


Wanna see something nasty?

Me neither, but nevertheless, I noticed some white flecks on this trident early in the spring. They didn’t come off easily, and weren’t moving either, so I just kind of ignored them.

3/20/19, easy to see in a night shot with flash:

Then on April 14, I noticed some white spots on the undersides of a few leaves. Get ready…nasty. Scale:

So the infested leaves were removed, and the trunk got a good scrubbing with a stiff wash of Malathion to kill the remaining eggs or whatever they were.

The next day:

And still a few scale bugs to remove:

And on the road to recovery just a few days later:

And after weeks, not a bug to be found, and it’s growing again, and ready for a haircut.

Stay vigilant, my friend.

Weekend at Eisei-en

It was a great weekend working with Bjorn and Conifer Group A (catchy name, right?). It was rainy off and on, and very pleasant for June in the South to work on trees outside. Here are a few shots of some junipers (and more) from around the nursery.

One of the three trees I brought to work on was this Shimpaku. It was originally styled in a long semi-cascade, which made the tree awkward in appearance and in situ. It was hard to water, and clearly hard to keep happy, based on the gradually-yellowing shoots our near the end of the long branch. Before the work, back in the winter:

And at Bjorn’s:

After removing the long extending branch:

And after wiring everything that remained:

A little shari was introduced on the trunk, and that will continue over time. I’ll also bring the apex down a little tighter toward the cascading branches.