I did complete defoliation of small leaved lime recently. Foliage was too big and too dense. As you can see on one of the "before" picture leaves inside the crown were already yellow due to lack of sunlight. 
If you leave it like this on tree for too long some inner growth inside the crown could eventually die off. You can prevent it with partial or complete defoliation to allow sunlight reach inner parts of the structure. Reason for defoliation with this tree is promote back budding, and keep inner growth strong. 
Smaller leaves are just secondary issue. And it is not happening automatically with every tree, smaller leaves are more result of finer and dense ramification in combination with restricting space in bonsai pot. 

Obviously, one can perform such task only on suitable tree, which is healthy and has a lot of energy. This is the case of this tree. I know based on my experience I can do it 2-3 times a year without jeopardising its health. In any case if you are trying to do it with your tree for the first time I advise you to be extremely careful.Start with partial defoliation in strong parts first season, watch how tree is reacting and learn how much you can push it. It does not make any sense to kill the tree with technique you are not familiar with. 

Yesterday we had World bonsai day. I  wanted to wish to all of you open mind, courage to go your own way, ability to find more inspiration in your nature surrounding you. 
Now this is how tree looked just before I start to defoliate it. But, day before I cut off about 10 to 15 shots from top of the crown which were already 30-40 cm long. So this is almost initial picture. 

Since tree is naked, it was easy to put some wire on bottom branch. I was planning to do it for long time but have no good opportunity to do it. So now was the time. Rest of the tree could have been wired also, but I made couple of other defoliation on that day and I will come back to wiring this Tilia in next few days I hope. 

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