How do you treat oak seedlings?

grizzlywon

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I planted out some cork oak seedlings last year and many came up. They are now about 1foot tall. I wanted to get them out of the shallow flat I had them in and into separate containers.

Here is my question. How hard should I prune these guys? Here is what most of them look like. Sorry I didn't take any pictures and I am using a very old version of photoshop. (I need to reload CS4)

Should I cut above the acorn if there are roots? Cut through the middle of the acorn or keep the acorn and cut off only the long unnecessary ones?

Thanks in advance.

Oh ya, and there are leaves, but I didn't want to try to draw those!
 

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bonsai barry

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I'm not sure this answers your question, but it might give you an idea of the rate of growth. The first photo is taken in '05 and I guess the oak is about three years old. The next photo was taken about 18 months later and the final one was taken last month (about five years after I got it, and probably 8 years old). It has been in the ground since the fall of '06. I plan to pot it next year. I live three hours south of Fresno in a slightly more moderate climate.
 

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Redwood Ryan

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I had the same question. I just got a bunch of Oak seedlings to sprou and Idk when to cut the taproots or do any work.
 

Brent

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It's a bit late now, but I cut the seed radicle before I plant them. I store the acorns in bags in the fridge during the winter. In early spring I take them out and cut the long white radicles that form back to about an inch. You lose maybe 30% of them this way, but since I collect pounds of them, I don't care much. I place them radicle down in a propagation flat in bonsai soil, crammed in right next to each other. They stay in the flat for a year.

The second year, I remove them from the flat and plant them in small pots. The roots are usually through the bottom and have to be sliced off so you can get them out. This provides a good root pruning. There won't be many long roots left in the flat and they are easy to get apart once you do this. I prune the rest of the roots back to fit in the 2 3/4 inch pots. They go in a nice cool moist part of the shadehouse where they won't get heat stressed. I don't cut back the tops unless they are overly tall. You want existing buds to leaf out to limit the amount of work the compromised root system has to do. It takes a while for them to colonize and start any shoot growth, but usually by fall they are stable.

When you originally cut the radicle, you will find that you get a ring of smaller roots right around the cut. That's a good start for the nebari, but these roots also will get too thick if they are not pruned back when transplanted. Oaks really love to put all that energy in one or two storage roots and you must not let them do this. Without cutting the roots early like this, you end up with a useless tangled ball of roots.

Brent
EvergreenGardenworks.com
see our blog at http://BonsaiNurseryman.typepad.com
 

Redwood Ryan

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Thanks Brent!

There are still a lot of acorns that have sprouted in the fridge. I have not potted them up yet. But, all I do is let the taproot grow out, then cut it back to an inch? That sure sounds like a way to kill them, but I might as well give it a shot.

Ryan
 

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