In this post, the reasons and process for defoliating the maple was discussed. 4 weeks later, here are new, bright red buds and new shoots developing in the interior of the tree. These will be allowed to grow next year and some will replace older, heavier branches to improve the taper and movement overall.
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:
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.