Deciduous Tree "pickle" Should I assist in defoliation?

mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)October 7, 2012

Hi, I'm kind of caught in a pickle here. I have a peach tree, a blueberry bush, a blackberry bush, a grape vine, a lilac, a magnolia, a couple of maples, a sumac, a rose bush, and a ton of other deciduous plants. They're either defoliating, or preparing to defoliate. I don't know if I should assist them. I know that they do that automatically, I see it everywhere every winter. This is my first deciduous garden, and I have reasons to assist in defoliation:

1) If another Nor'easter strikes and my trees have foliage, the nor'easter can weigh down my trees and bushes; causing the branches to snap. Remove the foliage as it yellows to prevent this.

2) As the trees defoliate, my thirst for GREEN foliage (and my OCD) plays a trick on my mind causing yellow foliage to make the tree look unsightly. Remove the foliage as it yellows to prevent this.

3) The leaves are only going to fall off anyway, why not help the process?

There are a couple of other reasons I have come up with that I can't remember off the top of my head, there were maybe 2 more. So that's about a total of 5 reasons to assist in defoliation, but my only problem is I have NO CLUE if I am hurting the trees and bushes at the same time.

So, should I help my trees defoliate, or should I just let them do it automatically?

Again, this is my first winter with my own personal deciduous trees. So, any help is appreciated. More advantages to this? Any disadvantages to this? Thanks in advanced!

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Leave them alone to defoliate and enter dormancy naturally. The natural abscission of foliage triggers a number of biological changes which are necessary to the plant's life cycle. Altering Ma Nature's clock is generally not a good thing :-)

None of your reasons for removing the foliage early is of any benefit to the tree but only to satisfy some personal needs or a perceived but completely unrealized problem. Get over it and let the plants be - they have been surviving for eons without our intervention for the most part.......certainly without the early removal of maturing foliage.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 4:08PM
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mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)

Okay. I wasn't sure if I should, now I'm positive that I shouldn't. Thank you.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 4:26PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

way back when .... in the time machine.. and i was a newbie .... when i had thoughts like this.. i would take a moment to wonder if i was trying to kill my plant with 'too much love'.. rather than letting nature take its course ...

if the answer seemed to be yes .. as gal suggests.. then let nature take care of it ...

with recent transplants.. in z5 .... just insure they are moist deep within the root zone.. but insure they drain.. before the soil freezes .... mulch properly ... and see what ma nature throws at us this year ... [with cool days and cold nights ... usually no additional water is needed.. but do check at depth]


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 7:45AM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

If you are expecting snow, then you will just have to be vigilant, keep going back out to shake the snow off. Defoliating them early isn't healthy for them.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 4:27AM
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