2010 BonsaiNut Oak Project


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Northern California
Thanks to all of you involved in the maple threads for inspiring me to do a better job at documenting the progress of my projects. Hope you don't mind the copycat thread. Here are some oaks that I started from acorns 2 years ago. I planted about 20 each of Quercus lobata, agrifolia, wislizeni, douglasii, suber and cerris. I trimmed the tip of the radicle, the first root that comes out of the seed, shortly after germination. This eliminates the heavy tap root and gives you a nice start on a radial root pattern. You can also do this via air/light trimming by growing the acorns in mesh bottomed flats, but I think manually cutting them provides a nice clean cut which results in better radial roots.

Today I lifted half of the plants to do another round of root work. Half of those I put back in the ground and the other half I put in pots to facilitate the next root work a couple of years down the road. As some oaks seem to resent root pruning, I may have been a bit aggressive with the amount of roots I took off. I can afford to lose some though, so we'll see what happens.

Picture 1: how the acorns looked when they were planted in the ground in the spring of 2008.

Picture 2: a valley oak(Quercus lobata) after root pruning. about a 3/4 inch trunk

Picture 3: Coast live oak(Quercus agrifoia) possibly with mycorrhizal fungi on its roots. Many of the trees has this stuff on them and I'm hoping that it is a good thing.

Picture 4: Does anyone know if this is mycorrhizal fungi?

Picture 5: The other half of acorns were planted at the same time (spring 2008) with their roots through holes in a large piece of plexiglass. I am going to give these another couple of years before I mess with them as I hope the plexiglass is doing the initial root work for me. They are about the same size as the ones I dug today, so they should be girdled by now.

One of the unexpected benefits of planting them in partial shade is that they all have nice low movement on the trunks from growing towards the light.

All in all, I'm happy with how they are developing so far.

Questions? Comments? Mycorrhizal fungi?



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