As the end of the year approaches, deciduous bonsai don’t typically look their best. No matter – once the majority of leaves on these trees turn color or fall off, I pluck the remaining leaves. Removing old leaves exposes interior buds to sunlight and reduces hiding places for insects. It also forces me to look closely at branches I haven’t seen since the trees leafed out in spring.
Root over rock trident maple
After removing old leaves
While removing the leaves on a trident maple I noticed some cracks in cut-paste covering a wound created by local vermin. As the cracks are a good sign that callus is developing, I removed the cut-paste and took a closer look.
Cracks in cut-paste
Callus on the move
I was happy to see that the wound is healing well. To help it along, I opened the margin of the callus with a grafting knife and re-sealed the wound with fresh cut-paste.
Opening the margin of the callus
I next moved on to a Korean hornbeam. I removed the leaves and replaced the surface soil.
After plucking old leaves
After replacing the surface soil
I was surprised to find the tree was quite dry despite watering the day before. Even with few leaves left the tree remained thirsty – a good reminder for me to water carefully throughout this transitional season.
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