Coast Live Oak Collected - April 2022

davidl

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I noticed some coast live oak saplings in the corner of one of my construction sites. Went to dig them up this weekend and pulled this guy out.

I know that it wasn't the best time to collect the tree, but it was going to be ripped out on Monday. There is no root ball because the soil was so sandy it basically all fell off. I also had to cut the tap root because it kept going even after digging down 2.5'.

Any advice on keeping it alive?
 

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Shibui

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Spring should be a good time to dig these.
While some prefer to retain field soil when transplanting I get better results when little field soil in the pots so I prefer to see the soil drop off like this. I guess the difference comes down to watering after transplant to make sure the field soil does not stay soggy.
Oaks are known for being difficult about hard root reduction but there should be enough roots there to keep this one alive. It may just take a couple of years to regain full strength but you'll then be a year ahead on the next root reduction that you'll need to do to get this into a shallower bonsai pot.

Care is the same as any other transplant - Protect from drying winds because it has few roots. Light sun only to reduce water needs until the roots get growing again. Water well so the few roots can supply necessary water to the tree but make sure the soil does not stay too wet.

Fingers crossed for it.
 

BrianBay9

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Coast live oak can survive collection at the proper time of year without any roots. As long as you cut below the beginning of root tissue (that initial bulge beneath your trunk) they will reliably grow new roots fast enough to survive. Normally I'd also completely defoliate at collection. Collected now, I don't know your chances, but if it were mine I would severely shorten your limbs (trunks?) and partially defoliate. Looks like you planted in potting soil? I'd suggest using 100% pumice.
 

davidl

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Coast live oak can survive collection at the proper time of year without any roots. As long as you cut below the beginning of root tissue (that initial bulge beneath your trunk) they will reliably grow new roots fast enough to survive. Normally I'd also completely defoliate at collection. Collected now, I don't know your chances, but if it were mine I would severely shorten your limbs (trunks?) and partially defoliate. Looks like you planted in potting soil? I'd suggest using 100% pumice.
Since I’m in the LA area, I used a cactus mix that I added some lava rock to. I feel like with the heat waves we get here, I need a bit more water retention.
I was thinking of defoliating/shortening the limbs, but I wasn’t sure how aggressive I should be with it. How severe do you think I should cut down the limb/trunks?
 

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