Show us your Oak (Quercus) Pre-Bonsai

miker

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I really love oaks and I hope to create a few decent bonsai in the coming years. I have several seedlings from acorns collected locally, but the few that I have that are at the pre-bonsai stage have been purchased in the past year from various sources. The one exception to this is my live oak that I grew from seed sprouted in 2006. This tree, which has a dedicated thread, is residing in Fl under my dad's care.

English Oak:

20170904_121410_HDR.jpg

Two other English oaks (Quercus robur):

20170904_121421_HDR.jpg

Scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea) with massive leaves. It remains to be seen if these can be reduced for a somewhat convincing large bonsai:

20170904_121523_HDR.jpg

Closeup of scarlet oak trunk:
20170904_121529_HDR.jpg
White oak (Quercus alba), purchased last month:

20170904_121553_HDR.jpg

Closeup of trunk, the base looks better in person:

20170904_121618_HDR.jpg

Lets see more oaks!
 

bleumeon

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Here are some coast live oak. Maybe my favorite species for bonsai right now. They grow insanely fast in my area and are very hardy. I'd say in 5 years these trees will start looking really good.

I have primary and secondary branching mostly finished on the larger oak. It will get cut back next spring for another round of branch development. Small oak is getting there too.

DSC00136.JPG

DSC00171.JPG
 

mcpesq817

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Here's a willow oak that I've been working on the last few years. You don't see many as bonsai, but these trees are everywhere here as landscape trees. I've always wanted to try one, and in particular, wanted a big oak for my benches. I found a 25' nursery tree as part of a pink tag sale for $75 or so in winter 2010. For the price, I figured I might as well try it, especially because it had the beginnings of the furrowed alligator type bark you see on older trees here.

Spring 2011, I chopped it to about 2' tall, flattened the rootball (took me a good 3-4 hours because the tree was incredibly root bound), and put it in a cement mixing tub for the rest of the year.

2011-04-09 a.jpg

2011-04-09 b.jpg

2011-04-09 d.jpg

2011-04-09 e.jpg

End of 2012, had some new leaders that I had wired for initial shape:

2011-12-26.jpg

Spring of 2012, I worked the roots hard again, mostly on one side to avoid killing the tree, carved the top a bit back to the sub-trunks, and planted it in the ground over a couple of big ceramic tiles for the next few years to help heal the chop and get the tree strong.

DSC07600.JPG

This year I dug the tree, worked the other side of the rootball pretty hard so I now have a pretty flat root pad, and planted it in a big mica container. The chop is only about half healed, but I was worried about being able to dig the tree up if I left it in the ground any longer. I'm working the sub trunks into a broom style, so I've wired it twice this year to get the initial movement and direction of the sub trunks going (a little hard to tell the structure because of all the foliage).

IMG_3666.JPG

This tree has taken a beating, but has responded very strongly each time. The trunk has barked up nicely over the past couple of years. For scale, I think the trunk caliper is 6" above the root flare, and it's probably 15" or so to where the sub trunks start. It's been completely pest and disease free so far, and the only drawback is that it's big and heavy. But, it should be fun to develop over the years.
 

rockm

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Here's a willow oak that I've been working on the last few years. You don't see many as bonsai, but these trees are everywhere here as landscape trees. I've always wanted to try one, and in particular, wanted a big oak for my benches. I found a 25' nursery tree as part of a pink tag sale for $75 or so in winter 2010. For the price, I figured I might as well try it, especially because it had the beginnings of the furrowed alligator type bark you see on older trees here.

Spring 2011, I chopped it to about 2' tall, flattened the rootball (took me a good 3-4 hours because the tree was incredibly root bound), and put it in a cement mixing tub for the rest of the year.

View attachment 159565

View attachment 159569

View attachment 159566

View attachment 159567

End of 2012, had some new leaders that I had wired for initial shape:

View attachment 159568

Spring of 2012, I worked the roots hard again, mostly on one side to avoid killing the tree, carved the top a bit back to the sub-trunks, and planted it in the ground over a couple of big ceramic tiles for the next few years to help heal the chop and get the tree strong.

View attachment 159570

This year I dug the tree, worked the other side of the rootball pretty hard so I now have a pretty flat root pad, and planted it in a big mica container. The chop is only about half healed, but I was worried about being able to dig the tree up if I left it in the ground any longer. I'm working the sub trunks into a broom style, so I've wired it twice this year to get the initial movement and direction of the sub trunks going (a little hard to tell the structure because of all the foliage).

View attachment 159571

This tree has taken a beating, but has responded very strongly each time. The trunk has barked up nicely over the past couple of years. For scale, I think the trunk caliper is 6" above the root flare, and it's probably 15" or so to where the sub trunks start. It's been completely pest and disease free so far, and the only drawback is that it's big and heavy. But, it should be fun to develop over the years.
Can't believe you managed to get it out of the ground without a backhoe. That thing must weigh a ton.

It is working into a great oak, though. You've literally done the heavy lifting, taking the time to develop the roots, now it's time to work on the top. Niiice.
 

mcpesq817

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Thank you! It's pretty heavy, but is fairly compact and all the work I did on the root pad to make it shallow paid dividends. It was super heavy in the original nursery container and field soil/clay, and being seven years older, I don't think I'd go through the same process again. Planting it on two large ceramic tiles with turface and used bonsai soil also helped make excavation easier. I was going to let it run in the ground another year or two, but this spring, I couldn't get any wiggle out of the tree when I pushed on the trunk. Turned out that roots had crossed the edges of the ceramic tiles (and one in between the two tiles) and in typical oak fashion, went straight down. Any more time in the ground would have needed a lot more beer to get out and recover. o_O
 

BobbyLane

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Gotta love the Oaks! This is English Oak, i have a thread on its progression already
IMG_5413 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr

Oaks can make beautiful bonsai, this one had smaller leaves before i defoliated it. i defoliated it in summer because i wanted back budding nearer to the trunk and it worked, although the leaves came back slightly bigger. still a good leaf size though...

this was it last autumn
IMG_2961 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr

you can see here from last winters image, where i made reductions in the crown to balance things out a little
2016-11-29_07-45-02 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr
 
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Microscopic

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Love them Oaks also!

Here's my long term "Sky Rocket" English Oak project I got from a local nursery last fall and barerooted this spring.
The giant pot it was in was nothing but roots and this thing was heavy as hell! Hardly anymore soil in there. I went conservative on this one and only took about 25% of the roots off from the bottom. It was like a dense roll of cheese.
Stuck this in the growing bed and it shot up 2-4 feet so far! Them young oaks can grow really fast.
My plan is to cut the trunk at the red line next spring. Any good advice on what tools to use to do this without injuring the side branches?
4trunk.jpg

Here's a pic I took yesterday. I hope the base will flare out more as it grows. Fingers crossed.
5trunk.jpg

For some of yous who wanna get fancy; here's a "Red Sprite" English Oak. I wished mine was a Red Sprite :(:mad:. This picture was taken in early fall so I can only assume all or most of the leaves will turn this spectacular red.
Oak_Autumn.jpg

I know more of yous have Oak projects. Post them up!
 
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sorce

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I went around this box branch with a razor.20170820_052619.jpg

I don't know how oak will respond.
But this allow for a clean easy and precise edge, which can be later carved with a grinder.

It is a long slow process.

But it is clear how easy it will be to grind that right where I need.

M-E-T-H-O-D.....

Man.

Sorce
 

Gdy2000

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I collected this oak in February of this year (2017):

20170303_232829319_iOS.jpg

I believe it's a white oak.

Here it is today...

20170908_151601717_iOS.jpg
Long ways to go, of course, but I like how it's responded in my garden. I hope the leaves will reduce over time.

I plan to collect several more this coming winter/spring.
 

Microscopic

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Hand saw and big-a$$ root cutters along with chisels is how I "chew" down those large trunks without power tools.
Lol I was thinking the same. But I had been lurking the dremel thread too. I wonder if that can reduce chop time.
Hey I didn't think of that. Good idea! I think I'll score deep with a razor where I want the chop to end and make like a 1 inch girdle before demoing the trunk.

That boxwood is coming along nicely!

Oh, Correction on my previous post. Was actually a "Crimson Spire" not "Red Sprite". My bad :oops:
 

mcpesq817

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Hand saw and big-a$$ root cutters along with chisels is how I "chew" down those large trunks without power tools.
Oak wood is really hard. You might be there all day using hand cutters, and possibly break or wear down your tools. I'd try using power tools, especially a die grinder and/or a reciprocating saw for the initial cut and then work it down with hand tools if you have to. Depending on size, Dremel might be too weak to do the initial work.
 

Pachycaul

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Wow! (And I thought no one cared!) Oaks!! Yaaaay! Quercus, quercus, 1, 2, 3 Show me yours and I'll show you mine. Gambel 3.25.17.jpg
Nursery stock quercus gambelli purchased March '17 for club workshop with Todd Schlafer (First Branch Bonsai) and subsequent hacking.

Gambel chop1.jpg Gambel chop2.jpg Allowed to grow freely following initial wire. Gambel May '17.jpg May '17- hard pruning to contain apex Gambel July '17.jpg in July, 4 months from purchase.
 

Pachycaul

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Purchased from Lone Pine Nursery in Sebastopol CA March '17 quercus suber, grown from acorns collected from stock that was part of the attempt to establish a domestic cork industry in the US.
Suber 3.17.jpg As Purchsed, thought this was the front. Suber July '17.jpg Midsummer '17. Son, you need a haircut. 20170809_170443-1_resized.jpg August '17. Think this is the front.
 

Pachycaul

Mame
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One thing about oaks, either they take the bruising root reduction of the willow oak or cringe at the slightest insult like gambels. Anyone have thoughts or experience on whether that capacity is linked with how wet their natural habitat is?
 

Hack Yeah!

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I had this one marked in my yard up develop in the ground, tree branch took out the top last year so I went ahead and collected it. Not sure of the species? White oak maybe, any help on identification would be appreciated20180901_150937.jpg20180901_151016.jpg20180901_151025.jpg
 

BrianBay9

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Some shohin agrifolia and suber I’m working on.
 

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