Quercus virginiana

milehigh_7

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I was at my local nursery a few days ago and they were clearing out some more trees. One of the sale items was this Live Oak. Might be good if I can get it to bud back. It is 4.125" at the base and tapers to 1" by about 8" in height.

It was in a 15 gal can now it is in a large pond basket where it will spend the next couple of years.
 

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milehigh_7

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Update

I just let this grow all last year. I decided this year to start trying to get some back budding. I chopped it at the lowest branch about a month ago and now it is pushing buds everywhere. I have been letting new branches extend to 5 leaves then cutting back to two.

IMG_20120418_081658.jpg IMG_20120422_134625.jpg

Now if I can figure out what to do long term with this. Right now I am thinking about getting a really low bud and trying to get some kind of shape in the trunk besides the stove pipe it is now. Ideas welcome.
 

mcpesq817

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I think you're right in trying to get a low bud and working off a new trunk line, instead of having a stove pipe off a nice fat base like that. Would take longer, but in the end it would look nicer in my opinion. I bet you can chop it again later this year and expect to get branches lower on the trunk. I've been doing the same with a willow oak that I "whittled" back from about 15' in the fall of 2010 to about 16" at the chop today, and I have branches up and down the trunk (even had some 2" off the base this spring).
 
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You could also let that new growth lengthen, bend it around and thread graft lower on that wonderful trunk. Good luck with this one, you got some great material there.
 

milehigh_7

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Ok help please I want to get this right

I did go ahead and chop it one more time. The chop is now right at 6.5 inches and the lowest branch is at 5 inches (the lowest one has the most vigorous growth) and the top is at 32 inches already.

I really want to do this well as I think this could be a nice tree. Any input on what to do and when to do it would be really appreciated.



IMG_20120607_185901.jpg IMG_20120607_190106.jpg
 

TheSteve

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I agree with Mac. You've got everything you need right there to thread graft it. That bad boy could be 3 1/2" tall in a year or so. Then you just have to figure out how to get it into a suitable pot lol.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I might take it a slightly different direction. You already have growth to work with, and if you consider how live oaks grow, it's more broom-style, rather than a pin oak with a strong central leader. I'd wire a lot of exaggerated movement into the growth you have, spreading the branches out. Look at a few examples like this random one: http://www.wildflower.org/image_archive/320x240/PCD1757/PCD1757_IMG0044.JPG

Use very thick aluminum wire, wrapped not-too tight so it will have the rest of this year to set without wire digging in too deep. Exaggerate the movement, because over the next few years as it grows, the movement will soften a lot. My hawthorn is roughly designed this way, and I wish I would have put a lot more movement into those branches back when the were at the stage yours is now.

Have fun, it has everything going for it!
 

Jay Wilson

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You've had some good advice here Clyde. All doable and you would end up with a nice tree.
I lean toward the chop it lower crowd though I would probably chop it just above the lowest branch and expect a few buds to break lower down.
Encourage those to grow by keeping the highest leader trimmed and eventually cut it off as well. Of course, plenty of fertilizer to help it grow and don't try to get it into a smaller pot until your limbs are fairly well grown. Maybe a shallower, wider pot to spur the surface roots to grow.
Good job so far!!
 

Smoke

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milehigh_7

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Ok so I have decided (total no brainer) to follow the advice of Brian and Will. Now my questions start with, what time of year should this fella be wired?
 
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grouper52

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This time of year while the cambium is active would be fine, especially if shaded a bit from the worst of the sun. When it is dormant in winter would probably be the only time I'd leave it alone, since the wood may be more brittle, and when the tree is not active enough to quickly repair any stress or damage to the cambium. I'd also try an expendable branch or two first, just to be sure: If it survives for a month or so, you're home free, and you'll still have time later this season to do more.

Good luck, and keep us posted!
 

mcpesq817

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I'd probably wire now if you have time. I haven't worked with live oak before, but on my willow oak, the growth is incredibly strong. I had wired its branches for more of a spreading oak style earlier this year (in late winter) before planting it in the ground, but had to take the wire off a month ago because it started cutting in. I haven't rewired it yet, but noticed that the branches are now again starting to grow straight up, rather than spread out. So, I'm going to need to get more wire on it soon if I want to keep the branches spread out.

So, if you are thinking of more of a spreading oak style, I might think about starting the branches in the right direction sooner rather than later.
 

rockm

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You should have wired a month ago:D Definitely get some direction in those apex shoots now, as they will continue to thicken and you will be stuck with long straight branches that can't be moved without drastic action.

In working my live oak over the last decade or so, I've noticed the top is extremely vigorous and apex shoots thicken almost immediately. They have to be controlled in their early stages if you want movement and definition. Once wired, you also have to be careful about wire biting into the shoot. It can happen quickly. A little scarring will help with placement retention and add some character down the road as the shoot "barks up," but if left alone, it can also leave bad spirals that are noticeable for years...
 

milehigh_7

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Baby Bending Try?

Here is an update after my attempt at bending...

Q.virginiana.0623.1.jpg Q.virginiana.0623.2.jpg

I did shorten a couple branches that were already more than two feet long...
 

milehigh_7

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Well those pics do not show very much. Here is a video that might show more. [video=youtube_share;_36_zLK8jM8]http://youtu.be/_36_zLK8jM8[/video]
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Looking good! In a day or two, as the branches relax a bit, go back in and try to exaggerate the movement in the first couple inches of each primary branch coming off the trunk. 3-4 years from now, you'll be very glad you did. 2 reasons:
1. As branches thicken, the movement softens.
2. You are developing a bonsai, one section at a time, the first few inches in those primary branches are the next section, anything presently beyond that area serves to develop that section, and will be removed later, in favor of tertiary growth coming off those primary branches.
 
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