Would defoliating the lower half of a Harry Lauder hurt it

cadillactasteJuly 7, 2014

I know some who defoliate their bonsai...I was curious...if I could defoliate the lower part of my Harry Lauder to allow the movement within that is hidden to shine? No...it's not a bonsai...but a landscape shrub.

I was pretty impressed by it's roots...which though the shrub was smaller than I had originally wanted. Decided one can't pass up roots that look as this ones did. Gnarly as the shrub itself! The larger ones I had seen at other landscape nurseries...sadly the graft was noticeable...and it was almost like a single trunk coming from the ground. With a very swollen graft area.

As you can see...not very big.

But currently has put out some new growth and is covered in foliage.

This post was edited by cadillactaste on Mon, Jul 7, 14 at 21:14

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i think you are mixing bonsai terms with gardening terms ...

there is no reason.. to NOT remove suckers .. especially on this plant ... it is trimmed to your vision ... subject to not getting carried away on a recent transplant, of course ...

it is nice to see they are also twisted... to me.. that indicates it is NOT grafted... as i have seen plenty of this plant ruined by arrow straight suckers overgrowing the plant ... and why one should try to find a rooted version.. over a grafted one ...

i lost mine after about 12 years.. to some endemic hazelnut/filbert disease ...

personally i wouldnt plant it until fall ... but you know what you are doing...

it has extreme potential.. over the decades .... i recall one at a nursery that was 15 feet tall.. and 20 wide ... but mine never go that big


    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 9:19AM
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We planted this months ago...yeah, I don't see a graft. To defoliate is to remove leaves not branches. (Bonsai term I reckon)Allowing the lower branches to be seen. No suckers of any sort. Nursery had for two years and its not suckered while in their care. I was looking for one on its own roots for that reason.I am hopeful I did with this shrub.

Sorry you lost yours...did you replace it?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 11:40AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

why replace if there is an ENDEMIC disease floating around ...

i saw your bonsai in some other post ... hence the language use thoughts ...

but i thought.. on this plant.. you were talking about the 4 small trunks starting on the main plant .... the ones thinner than a pencil ...

i would lift the canopy of this over the years.. so you can see the trunks...

as compared to a giant round bush.. that doesnt show off the twisty trunks ...

which is what i think you mean by de-leafing ...


    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:30PM
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Ahhh that makes sense. Is there ever a point once the disease is prominent in an area...that it passes and one can plant again?

As to the smaller branches that are contorted as well...I am uncertain at this point if I will keep them or remove them. There is an old Harry Lauder in town that I have admired for years. It has multi stem trunks from the ground. I am afraid if I remove the smaller branches I will end up with a single trunk look that branches off up higher. The one in town...has a few close to the ground...which in my opinion gives it more character. So...thus...until I am 100% sure I want them removed...they stay.

So slowly lift the canopy you say? By...a specific percentage...and should since this the first year planted be left be? Starting with de-leafing next season? My brain tells me to let it's roots settle. And leave it be for this season. Defoliate is a bonsai term for...de-leafing. I just assumed it was a general term. So...I am learning this is not the case.

Just as the roots are known in bonsai as Nabari...the nursery lady had no idea what I was saying when I said to my husband."I know we discussed a larger shrub...but...that Nabari is a dream!" The other small one they had was also unable to detect any sort of graft...but no roots noticeable above the soil level. A few of my bonsai friends can't believe I would intentionally leave this in the ground for life. For some do turn them into bonsai as well. But, I've always wanted it in yard...and...I learned here last year that finding one on its own roots was the way to go if at all possible. So a win win...and if I can have a gnarly shrub from the base up...and enjoy it in the yard...why not!?!

Besides...I can only have a limited number of potted bonsai. We do mission work and to have more would be to difficult with not being able to be reached when in a third world country while away. Two weeks for now...but, when the kids are grown we have discussed a few months at a time being away. So...that limits me to being selective and keeping the number down.

My spiral/serpentine weeping cherry I also chose for the base...at another nursery. Which...she thought odd...most choose for the overall appearance of the upper part of a tree. Guess...having a slight interest in bonsai...makes me see things a bit differently. But, I have taken to notice things I disregarded in the past...like a conifer twin trunk growing in the neighbors landscape...a bonsai enthusiasts dream for sure!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:45PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

I say go for it! The twisted trunks are the main reason it's grown. They sure look a lot better than the wilted looking leaves. Taking those leaves off the lower half won't hurt it. I do it to mine.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 10:10PM
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Thanks Mike! You and I think alike then...Mine is pushing new growth...a good 6" of it. Which since it was small I am glad to see. Was just worried since it was planted back in May. That waiting a year to allow it to become established was a concern. You don't think so then?


    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 7:16AM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

Both of mine are still in pots.
I received the large one on a trade through the Internet. The guy sent me a picture and I agreed to the trade. When it arrived it was hacked all to heck. The guy said he had to do it so he could get in in to his car. I was disappointed to say the least. Anyway, I made the best of it and was able to get a start from one of the sprouts. It has a curly trunk and is doing fine after two years.
My big problem in not getting them in the ground thus far is I can't figure out where to put them so they look like they belong.
Decisions, decisions. Seems to get more difficult every year.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:39PM
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Well I am glad that you were able to save it...looks real nice de-leafed. Though I am not sure I wish to remove secondary branches as high up as you have done. I do like being able to see the movement in yours though!

I thought I was indecisive..two years and having even a harder time of where you'll place it. Have you placed it in the area you considered and left it in pot for awhile there...see how it reacts to the area...and let it grow on you as to a permanent placement. I actually see a lot of plants still in nursery pots there Mike...all with similar issues not knowing where to plant them?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 3:18PM
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Info on defoliating...de-leafing. I knew ones who have done it. Reading more on it...it is something one does to a finished tree. So...something to think about once I get it more mature in size. At this time I want it to push growth.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATdefoliating.htm

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 8:14AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

let me clarify ... i did not replace it.. due to budget decisions ... i had my fun with this plant.. i used the money for other things...

the talk about the disease ... was just to let you know its out there ... and if and when it comes.. you will know about it ....

you enjoy this plant ....


    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 9:07AM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

I have a lot of pruning to do so I usually 'over prune' which gives me more time before I have to do it again.
You saw a lot of plants in pots in the background. Yes, I have over 300, down from about 450. Most are waiting to get large enough to put in the garden and the rest are a result of indecision...and time.

Ken, I see some die back on older plants and a little on my larger one. I just cut them off and say que sera, sera. It's outta my hands.
Darlene, I just went out and took a picture of my smaller one I detached as a sprout from the larger one about two years ago. It needs pruning...again.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 10:53AM
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I am not questioning your not replacing it...was just curious once it's/disease has been in an area...if it means it will always be there. Or...if it's known to eventually move out and ones can breathe a sigh of relief. And try again.

Though...at the nursery (one we stopped at today that I had never been to) they had one planted that was dead. They left it there for the shape and texture in the ground. It still looked gnarly all huge and twisted.

In the bonsai world...a tree/shrub grows far faster when in ground than in a pot. Many will throw a pre-bonsai in the ground to beef up the trunk and such. I would assume the same applied for any plant. Something to think about...

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 4:13PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

Yes, I'm familiar with planting in the ground to gain trunk diameter. I'm not that serious about bonsai to go to those lengths even though I keep a few bonsais around. They're fun!
Here's a plain old Juniper Tam I've had for awhile. My daughter thought it needed a 'lawn'. I hit it with RoundUp and am going to place some moss and a rock or two in the barrel. It should go in the ground, (Niwaki) but then I'd really have to keep on top of the pruning requirements.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 8:11PM
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Well then Mike... I am curious...how many potted plants are still potted that could...be trained for bonsai. And...if it's crossed your mind if any? (Grin on face like the cat that swallowed the canary)

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 8:33PM
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