In September ’10, I attempted the “fall defoliation” technique written in International Bonsai (1992?) and in an issue of Bonsai Today. The idea is to remove all but 1/4″ of the leaf base, and also remove the tip of each shoot, and with it the auxin that inhibits bud development further behind it.
The tree was wired again in winter of ’10 to spread branches and hide some bare spots:
And in 2011, the density continued to improve:
So I used the fall defoliating technique again in ’12:
You might notice that the apex has been wired over to the right a little… part of the plan to keep it as formal of an upright as possible.
In spring ’13, it was time to address the roots again. It had been several years since it was repotted. Let’s have a look:
Trying to eliminate and replace the circling roots is going to be a long process. I removed the heavy lower root that was under the soil level, then reduced the root that emerges directly from the front and has fused with the root wrapping around from the left side:
Then, I severed another low root, and straightened it out with a chopstick. The goal is to create a radial nebari, and to slowly reduce anything that is circling the trunk:
We’ll check in and update this post soon. I’m eager to see how these roots develop over the next couple of years.
Here is the spring flush of growth, and first pinching back. The density is better at the lower areas, and the leaves are smaller this year than years past.