I five Trident Maples that I picked out of my neighbor’s yard back at the beginning of the summer. They’re still saplings, ranging between four and ten inches in height. I was wondering, at what point in their development can I start defoliating them. Thanks.
Sounds like a fun project. In general, the defoliation starts once the trunks have reached the desired size. If you want the trunks to get bigger, defoliation can wait.
If the trunks are the right size, the next step is often healing the wounds and establishing primary branches. Partial or full defoliation can kick in at this point, though there are different approaches.
This came up a while back: Defoliation for ramification?