Leaf pruning is primarily applied to deciduous trees that have beautiful
branches and leaves, for example Acer (Maple), Zelkova, Beech, and
Hornbeam. Leaf pruning achieves the same effect as pruning the other parts
of the tree in increasing the number of small branches and leaves. In
addition, it  improves the sunshine and ventilation for young buds and small
branches between the leaves to promote their growth. This also helps to
bring out clearer view of the tree's shape and the inside of the tree, and it
makes branch pruning and bud pruning smoother to carry out.
Leaf pruning allows the lateral buds to stretch and grow and thereby
promotes the growth of new branches and leaves. In this way, it takes only
one year for the tree to develop the branches and leafage that would
otherwise require two years. Moreover, the new branches and leaves are
small for they have only been growing for a short period. Even if the leaves
suffered from pests, you can grow new leaves by leaf pruning.
Leaf-pruning the whole tree - Zelkova
Partial leaf pruning―Acer(Maple)
Partial Leaf pruning―Japanese maple  
Cutting off part of each leaf― Zelkova
Cutting off part of each leaf
Japanese maple
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How to carry out leaf pruning
depends on the purpose, the
condition of the tree, and the
species of the tree. For
example, for young trees and
those still under bonsai making,
you can prune all the leaves to
increase the number of small
branches and leaves.
 If you want to adjust the
length and the shape of a plant
that is more or less completed,
you only need to prune the tree
top and the well-developed
portion on the outer side.
Alternatively, when you want
to maintain the tree's vitality,
for leaves that grow in pairs
(opposite phyllotaxis), it is
enough to prune the leaf on
either side.
If you want to improve the
sunshine and ventilation on the
inside of the tree, but the tree
has developed its shape and
does not need new branches or
leaves, you can cut off each leaf
by half. Of course, you can
make comprehensive use of all
the above-mentioned methods.
Each tree species has its own properties. Take the Japanese maple for
example, it tends to grow lateral buds especially well after pruning. If the tree
already has a completed shape, it’s delicate beauty will be disturbed by the
new branches grown from the lateral buds. So a careful management of the
tree after leaf pruning is necessary. If you apply leaf pruning to the whole or
a part of a beech tree, new leaves may grow in undesired shapes. So you
typically need to cut off each leaf by half or by a portion in order not to make
the new leaves come out.
Since the tree needs to bud after you prune all the leaves, the best time to
carry out leaf pruning is typically between late spring and early summer. If
you only prune part of the leaves, then you should do so between late spring
and early autumn when plants stop growing. If you only cut off each leaf by a
portion, then the best time to do so is during late spring and summer.
Like other pruning, leaf pruning brings heavy burden to trees. You need to
fertilize the tree before each leaf pruning to maintain its vigorous growth.
After leaf pruning, you should reduce the amount of watering based on the
amount of leaves pruned. You must not fertilize the tree before the new buds
grow out. In addition, if you prune all the leaves, you better place the tree in
a shaded bright area for approximately ten days after pruning.
“For many species of deciduous bonsai trees the size of the leaf is directly
related to the type and amount of sunlight the tree is cultivated in. A bonsai
that is grown in partial shade or in full shade will have longer and larger
leaves, because the tree is trying to maximize the amount of sunlight it can
absorb to enable it to continue its photosynthetic processes - a larger leaf
has more surface area with which to gather sunlight. In contrast, a bonsai
tree that is grown in direct sun, all or most of the time, will have smaller and
more compact leaves, because it is receiving all of the sunlight it needs. As a
result, it can devote its energy to growing. This is important for all trees, but
more important for trees cultivated for bonsai, as smaller leaves are
proportionate to the smaller scale of a bonsai tree; smaller leaves are,
therefore, a positive trait, both aesthetically and from a horticultural
perspective, because a tree is healthiest when it has access to all of the
energy it needs to develop.”

“An evergreen tree, such as a pine (black, white, red, scots pine, etc.) does
not keep its needles forever. In fact, while evergreen trees do not shed their
needles in a blaze of autumn splendor, along with the deciduous trees, every
fall, they do replace their needles in two or three year cycles. Accordingly,
evergreen trees remain for the most part, always green, because younger
needles remain on the branch, as more mature needles are replaced.”
The Size of The Leaf and Sunlight
“Have You Ever Wondered Why Leaves Change Color?
The answer to that perplexing query begins with this question: what are
leaves? Leaves have been dubbed as: nature's food factories. During the
spring and summer leaves serve as factories where a large amount of the
foods necessary for the tree to grow are manufactured. The process that
trees utilize to turn water and carbon dioxide into sugar is called -
photosynthesis. A chemical called - chlorophyll - enables photosynthesis to
take place. Chlorophyll is what gives leaves their green color. Along with the
green pigment of chlorophyll, there are also yellow and orange pigments -
carotenes and xanthophylls - that, for example, give the orange color to
carrots. However, most of the year these colors are masked by the large
amounts of green coloring from the very busy chlorophyll.”
“Why Does this Change Occur?
As summer ends and autumn begins the days progressively become shorter
and the amount of light that trees receive is reduced. Along with the changes
in daylight hours, overall temperatures become cooler. It is these two
principal changes that ‘tell’ trees the time to begin getting ready for winter
has arrived. Trees start preparing for their winter dormancy by shutting down
their food-making factories, their leaves. The reason they do this every year
at the same time, is because there are not enough hours of daylight for
photosynthesis to take place. When the leaves stop their food-making
processes, the chlorophyll begins to diminish. The prominent green color of
the leaves dwindles, as the yellow and orange colors permeate the leaves,
giving them their celebrated fall grandeur.”
“Do Other Changes Occur At This Time?
As the traditional fall colors emerge, additional chemical changes occur,
resulting in the development of anthocyanin pigments. These pigments
produce of a bonus number of brilliant colors ranging from red to purple.
Cool temperatures - above freezing - favor the formation of anthocyanin,
thus producing bright red leaves on maples and deep purple leaves on
dogwoods and sumac trees. Temperature, light, and water supply all have an
influence on the degree and duration of the colors of autumn. Rainy and
overcast days have a tendency to amplify the intensity of fall colors and an
early frost can weaken the brilliant colors of fall.”
“It is the combination of all these things that create the striking colors we
enjoy so much every fall. The mixtures of yellow, orange, red, and purple are
the result of chemical processes that take place inside the tree as, outside,
the seasons change from summer to autumn and then to winter.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy the awesome colors of autumn is with a big
bag of candy and my favorite Halloween costume. Trick-or-Treat!”
                                                                                     By Tom Regan
Why Do Leaves Change Color?
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Physiology of Shaping
5. Bud Pruning
6. Leaf Pruning
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