I have a mature Zelkova purchased towards the end of last year that did well over the winter and has a full set of healthy leaves. The leaves are quite large though and I am hoping to defoliate this year. It makes me a little nervous completely removing all the leaves since I have never defoliated a tree before. It would be a shame for it to die from doing something too aggressive. Are there any specific tips or tricks? Any reason not to completely defoliate other than the tree being unhealthy (which it is not)?
I have read the best time to perform defoliation is in the middle of summer (mid-June) when the new branches have hardened. It looks like you also cut the leaves through the leafstalk. Any additional suggestions? The tree was repotted ~ 16 months ago.
This link was helpful: https://www.bonsaiempire.com/basics/styling/advanced/defoliation