Pre-Bonsai Laurel Oak: next steps

Bonsaidoctor

Seedling
Messages
23
Reaction score
3
Location
Cincinnati
USDA Zone
6a
Greetings-
My first post. Very grateful for this forum. I have been maintaining multiple small (shohin) potted trees in my collection for many years. But recently, I want to start growing pre-bonsai and be more active in development. I acquired this sample from a nursery for about $50- what I thought is a nice Laural Oak specimen with good opportunity to make into bonsai. I have transplanted stock/nursery trees in the past. I actually acquired this about 2 months ago and am just letting it say in pot until early Spring. It has thrived for the most part (though there are some brown spots on leaves occasionally- see picture looking from above: leaf is a about 6 o'clock).

I have lots of questions- but I will try to hit highlights:
1. Is early spring the best time to transplant this into pot?
2. What should I do about the old thick roots extending from the base? They are actually hovering above the soil (they were chopped for extraction from ground)- do I leave them be (and keep them above the soil line when I transplant? Do I cut them back one at a time? If so, what should the timing/progression be (when should I cut the old thick visible roots back to the trunk? should I do one root then wait and do another or both at the same time? Should I cut the thick roots before I transplant)?

And obviously- anything I am not thinking of, please mention if you feel appropriate. Thanks for your consideration.
RandyIMG_4363.JPGIMG_4364.JPGIMG_4365.JPGIMG_4366.JPG
 

Zach Smith

Omono
Messages
1,182
Reaction score
1,823
Location
St. Francisville, LA
USDA Zone
8
Classic collecting mistake on those roots. In order to make them useful they'd need to be at least two-thirds shorter than they currently are. You might try cutting them way back a couple at a time. Just be sure to bury the whole nebari a couple of inches deep to keep the cut roots from drying out. This would be a next spring chore. The other option is to layer the whole tree above these roots and start over developing the nebari.
 

Bonsaidoctor

Seedling
Messages
23
Reaction score
3
Location
Cincinnati
USDA Zone
6a
Thanks, Zach. When I bought it (as is), I suspected this would be a problem.
Want to make sure I understand. The current nebari is flawed due to fact cut roots are too long. One option is to cut roots back farther and then bury the nebari a few inches deep (prevent them from drying out) then after some time remove the few inches to reestablish the current nebari. I dont know how to establish a new nebari, so the bury/reetablish current nebari sounds like best plan. And- if I am following correctly- could I not seal the new root cuts with putty/etc instead of burying?
 

Zach Smith

Omono
Messages
1,182
Reaction score
1,823
Location
St. Francisville, LA
USDA Zone
8
You are correct. I don't seal cut roots, since theoretically the roots should always have some moisture surrounding them. Your call on this. Just remember there's about a 90% chance the cut root sprouts at the cut end and only there. Which is why you need to cut those roots way back upon collection. You'll eventually be able to re-expose the nebari. Patience will be needed for a few years. Good luck!
 

rockm

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
9,016
Reaction score
10,821
Location
Fairfax Va.
USDA Zone
7
Also, those roots look like they have some die back on them, especially on their top halves along their length. keep that In mind when you cut them back. Make sure you prune to living tissue. Zach's point about substantially burying those roots under soil in a growing container after your work is very important.
 

Similar threads


Top Bottom