oak collecting advice

will0911

Shohin
Messages
337
Reaction score
8
Location
Northwest, FL
USDA Zone
8/9
I have about 20 oaks or so that I want to collect. I was just wondering if anyone had some advice on when and how to do so. I know about trenching so would that be the way to go? I'll try to post some pictures of it and the leaves in a few days. Thanks.
 
Last edited:

PaulH

Omono
Messages
1,460
Reaction score
2,392
Location
Rescue, CA
In my experience, most types of oaks are easy to collect successfully. Especially live oaks. One tip for live oaks is to completely defoliate the tree when you collect it. Doing this has increased my survival rate to almost 100%. Deciduous oaks are a little more iffy but be sure to dig in the early spring just as buds are swelling.
Paul
 

will0911

Shohin
Messages
337
Reaction score
8
Location
Northwest, FL
USDA Zone
8/9
So there is not really a need to trench? What type of soil mix should I use just a basic well draining?
 

rockm

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
9,679
Reaction score
12,349
Location
Fairfax Va.
USDA Zone
7
Collecting oaks in California is not the same as collecting oaks in Fla. Eastern oak species can be a bit finicky when it comes to root disturbance--even live oaks. Sever the roots all at one go and the tree will probably die.

A more conservative approach is needed, in most cases here. All this depends on what kind of oak you're digging. Willow oak can be dug more aggressively than tyipcal White Oak and red oak, for instance, since Willow Oak (Quercus Phellos) has a shallower root mass than most other oaks. Live oaks in the east (Quercus Virginiana) are considered white oak species

The biggest issue with white oak species in the east is tap roots. Tap roots can be quite significant if the tree is over 4 inches in diameter. If you cut it all at once, the tree may not make it.

I'd trench the oak in early Feb in your part of the country--just before bud break. Cut through the larger roots at the surface all the way around. Make sure you undercut half the root mass to incorporate the tap--which should be cut half way through. Backfill with bonsai soil. Let it alone for the year. Repeat the process from the other side the following spring.

All this is rather subjective and depends on the tree and local growing conditions. The best thing to do is experiment a bit with a few trees that aren't that terrific bonsai-wise to get experience in how to do it. I'd not dig all 20 of those trees all at once. Try three or four to start. See how you do.
 
Last edited:

will0911

Shohin
Messages
337
Reaction score
8
Location
Northwest, FL
USDA Zone
8/9
Thanks a lot! And I'm not gonna dig all of them at once don't have that many pots or space to do that I'm also building taper so they will be there awhile. It'll give me time to get the roots in order. Thanks again for the advice.
 

will0911

Shohin
Messages
337
Reaction score
8
Location
Northwest, FL
USDA Zone
8/9
hey i just did alot of research online and found they are post oaks a white oak variety....im not sure the scientific name but they are growing in pretty much sandy soil and clay....i was also wondering when i do put them in grow boxes what kind of soil mix would i use? i have a very nice one with an excellent root spread and i mean excellent i couldnt believe it when i saw it so thats the main reason why im wanting to know alot about them....ill take a picture of it soon.......i already cut it down to about 2'. it has a long way to go but if its growing strong in spring and i see alot of buds ill start to trench it and maybe in a few years ill have some good raw material to work with. i know oaks dont usually have good visual roots when they are young but this is the exception so i want to take it slow and do everything right to make its survival percentage as high as possible. thanks
 

subnet_rx

Mame
Messages
219
Reaction score
7
Location
Hattiesburg, MS
USDA Zone
8b
Post oak has a big leaf, I would wonder if those are going to reduce enough to be proportional.
 

yenling83

Chumono
Messages
906
Reaction score
923
Location
Nipomo, CA
Wow 20 hu!!!???? I've successfully collected about 3 Live Oaks before and all are alive and thriving. If I can give you any advice I'd say start small. Just like with Food sometimes your eyes are bigger than your mouth. I would start with collecting maybe 3-4 tops this year, if they do well then you can get more next, or get the better one's next. If your digging a big trench this is very tiring for most. Good luck!


Use 100% Pumice if you can find it, make sure to wash it/sift it.
 

will0911

Shohin
Messages
337
Reaction score
8
Location
Northwest, FL
USDA Zone
8/9
I really appreciate the info....ill collect the so so ones this spring they are too small to trench anyway....ill look for the pumus however you spell it. If I can't find it what's a second go to?
 

PaulH

Omono
Messages
1,460
Reaction score
2,392
Location
Rescue, CA
I don't know if it's available in Fl. but here in CA, feed stores sell a product called "Dry Stall" that is pure pumice for use in horse stalls. I use it often for collected trees.
Paul
 

will0911

Shohin
Messages
337
Reaction score
8
Location
Northwest, FL
USDA Zone
8/9
Is that anything like turface? I'll check out the places around here...thanks.
 
Messages
200
Reaction score
2
Location
columbus, ohio
USDA Zone
6a
hey i just did alot of research online and found they are post oaks a white oak variety....im not sure the scientific name but they are growing in pretty much sandy soil and clay....i was also wondering when i do put them in grow boxes what kind of soil mix would i use? i have a very nice one with an excellent root spread and i mean excellent i couldnt believe it when i saw it so thats the main reason why im wanting to know alot about them....ill take a picture of it soon.......i already cut it down to about 2'. it has a long way to go but if its growing strong in spring and i see alot of buds ill start to trench it and maybe in a few years ill have some good raw material to work with. i know oaks dont usually have good visual roots when they are young but this is the exception so i want to take it slow and do everything right to make its survival percentage as high as possible. thanks
Post oak - Quercus stellata
Since they are in sandy soil, your digging may be easier, but I will bet that you will have to deal with a gnarly tap root. I tried to dig a small one from my frind's farm (silty clay soil) and it did not survive. I really did not know what I was doing at the time, though and did not give myself enough time. You may want to do some exploratory surgery to see how the roots radiate from the tree - they may not be evenly distributed and could extend several feet. The trenching method may be be the best route to take.
 

will0911

Shohin
Messages
337
Reaction score
8
Location
Northwest, FL
USDA Zone
8/9
Yeah ill have to experiment with the smaller ones...thanks for the info...yeah I'm definitely trenching the real nice one.
 

yenling83

Chumono
Messages
906
Reaction score
923
Location
Nipomo, CA
I've used both Turface and Pumice and my trees seem more healthy in pumice. Dry stall works, and it is just made out of pumice, but from my experience there's a lot of dust and fines. While some people don't sift and rinse before using, I think it's important. I know Jonas at www.bonsaitonight.com has an article on washing pumice somewhere on the site.
 
Top Bottom