Sacrifice Branch Question (Water Oak)

sevan

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This summer I decided to learn about air layers and a Water Oak has been my most successful by far. When I started the air layer, I didn't really have a plan, just wanted to learn about the process on a tree in my yard. Now that I've actually collected the tree, I'm trying to work out my next steps and was hoping to get some advice from the experts.

While I had to remove a large amount of tree above the air layer, I ended up keeping more of it than I expected, because I saw an interesting bit higher up that I thought would make a good layer next year (marked up below).

However, I'm not sure what to do with the lower section. I have 4 equally spaced branches around the bottom of the tree. For now I'm leaving them while the tree establishes new roots, but for next year I wasn't sure if I should take 3 of them off or leave them all. I was thinking that all 4 would help to grow the base faster and even if they created reverse taper, I could just ground layer up to that point several years from now. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks,
Scott



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Shibui

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That group of branches all at one level will almost certainly create a bulge and reverse taper. Looks like they have already started to do so so your plan to layer again at the widest spot sounds sensible. In that case it does not matter how fat that area gets or how reverse the taper is. Leave them all on and let them all grow.
 

sorce

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I musta lost you between syx and ate!

Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
 

bwaynef

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Quercus are reportedly difficult to airlayer. I wonder if reports are wrong, Water oaks are the exception, or your technique was stellar.
 

sevan

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I'm guessing water oaks must be easy because it was one of my first air layer attempts. I tried five air layers this year, this one looked great, my sugar maple failed, and my three Japanese red maples succeeded, but looked pretty mangled when I finished with them.
 

Shibui

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If you l;eave just one branch on will it thicken just one side ?
Yes, but thickening on one side is still thickening. In the end you can only tell the difference by cutting the trunk to see.
Occasionally you can see a trunk that is not round but oval shaped which may be caused by something like this. In bonsai we show and view a tree from a chosen side - 'front'. It is normal to choose to show a bonsai from the side that shows the widest trunk view (all other things considered) so a not round trunk is still OK.
 

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