Collected Southern Live Oak

markyscott

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Hard to think of the south without thinking of Mint Juleps, humidity and the Southern Live Oak. I have two of them in my yard. My street is lined with them. A Texas Champion Live Oak is about 3 miles from my house - I used to run by it every day. They’re an interesting species and a fascinating challenge for bonsai. I think I’ve seen one posted on this site and I saw one other at a state convention, but they’re relatively unexplored as bonsai in my experience.

- S
 

markyscott

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The native range of Quercus virginiana extends as far north as southeast Virginia where it grows close to the coast. It’s coastal range extends south through South Carolina. Further south, the range extends inland across southern Georgia and all of Florida. It’s range hugs the Gulf Coast well into Texas until Port Lavarca where it extends north - all the way to southwestern Oklahoma.

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markyscott

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Here in Houston, people just call Q. virginiana the “live oak” and everyone knows what you’re talking about.

I have one that I’ve been working with for a number of years. It was collected somewhere along the Pearl River in southeastern Louisiana by my friend Greg Leblanc in Lake Charles. It was growing in his backyard when I first saw it. It was in a plastic nursery pot sitting on the ground and it’s roots had escaped through the drainage holes. In 2012, some of those roots were as big around as my forearm. It took the both of us the better part of an hour with a pruning saw to get the tree out of the ground. It was late May or early June when we did it - wasn’t sure if the tree would live.

Sorry - no pictures of that day.

- S
 

markyscott

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The tree didn’t miss a beat.

Here’s the earliest picture - taken October 2014. I bought the tree because the trunk line had movement and taper - a couple of things pretty hard to come by in a live oak of this size. I had a really big branch about halfway up the trunk that had grown. I debated keeping it, but it was just too high on the trunk so I began a multi-year process of removing it.

C767FDAE-09CD-4727-9DC2-815A4F40E701.jpeg

S
 

markyscott

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In February 2015 it was time for a repot. You can see that I removed a wedge from the big branch I was planning on removing in an effort to help heal the wound that would be left. This was only modestly successful. That’s something that would take many years to heal over. Here’s the tree at the time from a number of angles:

7D1A3F31-61CD-48C3-8041-966C2116ECBE.jpeg60D847DB-734A-473C-B870-E14556E250D8.jpeg5574732D-2F8B-40BF-8529-05245B205C9A.jpegF993AD06-3516-4DA6-A688-2393E281714A.jpeg8EC7441F-D114-436A-84DA-8DDD699E527C.jpeg

S
 

markyscott

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I pulled it out of the Anderson flat and bare-rooted 1/2 of the tree. The other 1/2 I left more or less untouched. As you can see, there are some problematic roots (probably from the years that it grew in Greg’s back yard) that will have to be addressed at some point. I’m guessing I have some root grafting in my future if I plan on reducing some of the over grown roots. All part of the fun.

Check out the big would in the trunk - it was probably a big branch that was removed at collection. The wood has rotted out leaving a massive cavern there and the tree has produced callous tissue that’s rolled over the edge. It’s cool, but one is enough.

95DF0F0B-064F-43A5-AEBB-3FDAE61C1CF9.jpegE66E768F-DF8C-488B-A42A-D78A95AE4EF0.jpeg72D6D646-AF5C-41E0-AB65-BB58ED724127.jpeg

S
 

markyscott

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I built a grow box for it - the tree’s home for another year. I was disappointed in the lack of new shoots that had emerged over the past 3 years, but was hopeful at the time that I would get some new shoots.
71514A47-EFDC-45D9-BD2C-16C09E227E5A.jpeg
 

markyscott

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Here’s the tree a few minutes later after cutback. I decided to keep some long shoots in place for approach grafting the following spring. After these pictures were taken, I wired the branches I was going to use for grafting and carefully bent them into place so they’d be ready in spring.
DF7BBBF5-CB0E-4E8C-843A-64A8C3B76348.jpegD8FF1ADE-22AA-4B4D-B46B-C856C5C67765.jpeg70ACE6E5-ADF2-48D2-B79F-88BB2FE53F53.jpeg
 

markyscott

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At this point, I thought I was done with spring work on this tree. But surprise! When I lifted the box, it completely fell apart. Turned out that 2016 was a repotting year as well. So back to it - this time I put it in a ceramic training pot.

16E67661-9000-4424-A4B1-E13F734A91E4.jpeg6616DB0E-6A22-4942-84CF-EC21BE63645D.jpegDF185FC6-B1D7-49BB-8434-0926F9EFE440.jpeg80D60986-D0BD-40EA-BFC6-77A57D7AA4B2.jpeg

Now I’m done.5BD2183E-194F-4E7E-A319-F325C4330083.jpeg

S
 

Gene Deci

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There is a live oak in Foley Al. that is a state champion. Magnificent tree! Someone told me when I went to see it that live oak played a role in the revolutionary war. They were so good for ship building that the British forbade the colonists from harvesting any for themselves..
 

Potawatomi13

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Why staples instead of zip ties:confused:? Looks like good work anyway.
 

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