Two months ago I partially defoliated a mature Korean hornbeam (see “Focus on defoliation” for details).
After defoliation – May 2018
I’d been curious about the effect of removing more leaves than normal so I cut about 60-70% of the foliage to see what would happen.
Since then, the tree has grown well. New leaves came out quickly and now young shoots are extending beyond the silhouette.
July 2018 – two months after partial defoliation
In past years, I let the tree grow freely after defoliating until the tree went dormant in fall. This year I was struck by the size of the new leaves and length of the new shoots. In an effort to preserve the fine branches in the tree’s interior, I reduced these new shoots to one or two leaves. Trimming these shoots reduces the vigor of the exterior branches and lets more light into the tree’s interior.
After shortening to two leaves (the third leaf is from another branch)
I also cut back shoots that emerged directly from the trunk and removed some of the larger leaves.
After trimming new shoots and removing large leaves
Going forward, I’m going to keep a closer watch on my more refined deciduous trees and trim any new shoots before they get too long to keep the tree’s vigor in check.
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