Is Evergreen Oak (Quercus ilex) a Good Bonsai Subject?

Apex37

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Curious if anyone has used these for bonsai subject or had any luck with them.

I have one in my yard thinking of maybe getting some cuttings of or doing a possible air layer as I don't have any oaks and thought might be fun to play around with.

Couldn't find much online about them as bonsai.
 

PaulH

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They make excellent bonsai. Also known as Holm oak. a Google search with that name will get you images and info.
 
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I got some I’m working on

However, the whole tree ended up dying (was 12’ and free from the neighbor, but shocked and died) but now has 1’ tall shoots in just 2ish months. Trying to figure out how to eventually separate the shoots

We have a lot where I am. I’ll prob collect acorns at some point and try growing them from seed
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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It seems they don't like frost. So I gave up.

They do grow fast! About a foot per year from seed, if given enough space.
 

Apex37

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It seems they don't like frost. So I gave up.

They do grow fast! About a foot per year from seed, if given enough space.
That's what I thought as well! I was surprised that the one in my front yard experienced no die back from this winter freeze we had back in Feb. We had a whole week of sub-freezing temps, one day dipped below 0. A big 60+ year old ash tree in my yard suffered from a lot of die back because of it.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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I've grown a couple from seed, and they lasted two years.
In the ground they might've survived but -10°C to -15°C in a container was too much for them. Best to provide some winter protection.
Their bark is pretty rugged, so I might give it another shot in some years.
 

Potawatomi13

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I got some I’m working on

However, the whole tree ended up dying (was 12’ and free from the neighbor, but shocked and died) but now has 1’ tall shoots in just 2ish months. Trying to figure out how to eventually separate the shoots

We have a lot where I am. I’ll prob collect acorns at some point and try growing them from seed
Do not separate shoots. These part of base or roots of original tree. Good to keep big developed base already present😌.
 

rockm

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You sure its a quercus ilex? Asking because that is a European species and not all that common in Texas.

If you're in Ft. Worth and this is a native species, it's more likely a quercus fusiformis--escarpment live oak. Fusiformis is extremely common in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and a very very common landscape tree.
 

Apex37

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You sure its a quercus ilex? Asking because that is a European species and not all that common in Texas.

If you're in Ft. Worth and this is a native species, it's more likely a quercus fusiformis--escarpment live oak. Fusiformis is extremely common in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and a very very common landscape tree.
That's what the landlord told me it was, but honestly I'm not sold because of these reasons as well. When I get home I'll try and get some photos, but not exactly sure how to tell the difference between the two.
 

rockm

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It would be easier with photos. Holm oak, or holly oak, leaves live up to their name--they have spines at the ends of lobes or at the ends. Escarpment live oak doesn't.
 

Mikecheck123

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You sure its a quercus ilex? Asking because that is a European species and not all that common in Texas.
Anecdotally they are widely cultivated in California and Virginia. Texas wouldn't surprise me at all.
 

rockm

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Anecdotally they are widely cultivated in California and Virginia. Texas wouldn't surprise me at all.
Yeah, but escarpment live oaks are extremely widely cultivated in Texas. They are foundational landscape planting all over the Ft. Worth/Dallas metroplex. They are farmed at large nurseries in BIG containers. Might be a Holm oak (quercus ilex), but given the extensive use of escarpment live oak down that way, I'd be surprised. This is live oak nursery near Dallas:
 

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Leo in N E Illinois

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Beyond just leaf shape, the acorns, are key to identification. Details of how the cap sits on the nut are important. Also details of the vegetative buds on the twigs. So get good photos of leaves, buds on twigs and acorns. Then a definitive ID can be made.
 

Apex37

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Sorry y'all, looks like it is Texas Live Oak. Here's some pics just to confirm.

Looking more at the tree, I was finding few places to air layer (that are interesting movement at least) that are shorter than 2ft+ and I don't really have the room for that big of a tree. Might just try and get some cuttings instead.
 

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rockm

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Sorry y'all, looks like it is Texas Live Oak. Here's some pics just to confirm.

Looking more at the tree, I was finding few places to air layer (that are interesting movement at least) that are shorter than 2ft+ and I don't really have the room for that big of a tree. Might just try and get some cuttings instead.
Yup. Escarpment live oak--the upland form of southern live oak. They make excellent bonsai. You'd have better luck getting a small containerized one (like 10-20 gallon container, or even smaller I've seen some in 5 gallon containers that were workable--root systems are already established and set in containers at that point) at a nursery and chopping it. Oak bonsai require larger trunks to be "oaky." I've had this Escarpment oak as bonsai for the last 25 years. It was originally collected near Salado. It is pretty old. When I got it and started working with it, I counted the rings on the lower portion of the trunk that was cut through to collect it--got to 260 and the rings got too small to count easily. It's been rock solid in a container since then. Grows like a weed even here in Va. (overwintering takes a cold greenhouse, for me. It won't require anything more than a covering on the ground with mulch in Ft. Worth for the winter).
 

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Apex37

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Yup. Escarpment live oak--the upland form of southern live oak. They make excellent bonsai. You'd have better luck getting a small one at a nursery and chopping it. Oak bonsai require larger trunks to be "oaky." I've had this Escarpment oak as bonsai for the last 25 years. It was originally collected near Salado. It is pretty old. When I got it and started working with it, I counted the rings on the lower portion of the trunk that was cut through to collect it--got to 260 and the rings got too small to count easily. It's been rock solid in a container since then. Grows like a weed even here in Va. (overwintering takes a cold greenhouse).
Oh man, that is a really nice tree. I love the bark and that one knob. 25 years work and it shows!

Texas Hill Country is my favorite part of Texas. If didn't hate the heat, I'd move down there. We're actually looking to move to NC here in the next 6 months or so. Been in Texas my whole life and want nothing more than cooler weather and mountains.
 

rockm

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Oh man, that is a really nice tree. I love the bark and that one knob. 25 years work and it shows!

Texas Hill Country is my favorite part of Texas. If didn't hate the heat, I'd move down there. We're actually looking to move to NC here in the next 6 months or so. Been in Texas my whole life and want nothing more than cooler weather and mountains.
I'd love to move back to Texas. My parents lived out near Tyler. I have relatives all over the state. I've been in Va. for 40 years now. It's great, but there's something about the Lone Star state...and yeah, I get the part about the heat. Nothing like an East Texas July and August and September...Gets a bit toasty
 

Apex37

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I'd love to move back to Texas. My parents lived out near Tyler. I have relatives all over the state. I've been in Va. for 40 years now. It's great, but there's something about the Lone Star state...and yeah, I get the part about the heat. Nothing like an East Texas July and August and September...Gets a bit toasty
Oh that's awesome! East Texas has my favorite fall colors in the state. Love all the sweetgum out there. My cousin actually built a cabin out in Hawkins I always loved visiting growing up.

I think also a lot of why we want to move is we love to hike and go camping and backpacking. Texas is pretty flat and too hot to camp 4/5 months of the year. Lol

Wherever we end up, I plan to have at least an acreage or more to dedicate for growing plants and trees.
 

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