Trouble developing branch’s Coast live oak

Scrogdor

Shohin
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I’ve had this oak for one spring now, it already had some broomish branching so Im attempting to go in that direction. It had very straight long sections that I’ve been trying to shorten and bring some movement too.

A little bit of inverse taper there in the mid/top section of trunk, but probably can’t be helped.

I’ve been pretty conservative with my pruning so I don’t kill the tree. Making sure there is atleast one leaf left on the branch when I chop. Just need some opinions on how to develop this tree/ how drastic of a cut I can make these cuts to get some movement in the top. Thanks and happy fourth!
 

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sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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been pretty conservative with my pruning so I don’t kill the tree. Making sure there is atleast one leaf left on the branch when I chop

I think this is a good idea....only....

If you are in a "priorcare" state of not enough energy to pop buds, this can still be a slow death spiral move, if not tree death, worse, death of design.

This is why I recommend always waiting until the very last minute to act before acting. This will ensure a good response.

You're essentially "building up the bank".

The bank isn't full until the very second before unchecked growth ruins design.

You can be conservative forever on a "healthy" tree and never move it forward.

You could probably wait until a season before unchecked growth ruins design....
But it's better to excersize patience and get the guaranteed response by waiting to the very last second.

This aids in predictability, which is always what we want.
Perfectly predictable in 5 years is better than questions now.

Sorce
 

Scrogdor

Shohin
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I think this is a good idea....only....

If you are in a "priorcare" state of not enough energy to pop buds, this can still be a slow death spiral move, if not tree death, worse, death of design.

This is why I recommend always waiting until the very last minute to act before acting. This will ensure a good response.

You're essentially "building up the bank".

The bank isn't full until the very second before unchecked growth ruins design.

You can be conservative forever on a "healthy" tree and never move it forward.

You could probably wait until a season before unchecked growth ruins design....
But it's better to excersize patience and get the guaranteed response by waiting to the very last second.

This aids in predictability, which is always what we want.
Perfectly predictable in 5 years is better than questions now.

Sorce
So basically let it grow unchecked, strengthen up then do a drastic cut back which should yield good bud back?
 

nuttiest

Shohin
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A little bit of inverse taper there in the mid/top section of trunk, but probably can’t be helped.
you can pay now, or you can pay later.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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So basically let it grow unchecked, strengthen up then do a drastic cut back which should yield good bud back?

Yeah except I'd try to put it down on that nice platform the neighbors roof is offering! And not prune it until you can reach out from where it is now! (A serious reference of extreme)

Seriously seriously.....what's up with that roof?

My daughter been wanting to go up on a roof, If I lived there, we'd be repelling or parkouring or something!

Sorce
 

Scrogdor

Shohin
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Yeah except I'd try to put it down on that nice platform the neighbors roof is offering! And not prune it until you can reach out from where it is now! (A serious reference of extreme)

Seriously seriously.....what's up with that roof?

My daughter been wanting to go up on a roof, If I lived there, we'd be repelling or parkouring or something!

Sorce
When I got it, the owner of it said it had just been repotted in a training pot/ no to mess with the roots for a couple years. When I repot it next year I'll get rid of it
 

rockm

Spuds Moyogi
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So basically let it grow unchecked, strengthen up then do a drastic cut back which should yield good bud back?
Yep. That has been my experience with my live oak (which is, admittedly, not the species you're working with). Being afraid of losing a branch because of no green at the end is a conifer fear. There is no reason for that fear with oak. It will backbud on bare wood with no existing foliage. Hard reductions are the way to go to develop oak bonsai of any character. You can't rely on long branches and wire like with conifers. You have to reduce, and reduce again. It takes time and effort. Long flowing branches aren't really oak territory. The only way you're going to get a branch like the one you've outlined is though repeated cut and grow, then bud selection, shoot extension, followed by another drastic chop back. That's what oaks do in the wild.

If you look at natural growth patterns on old oak limbs, you can sometimes see where the branch grew out, then was broken or abandon as it drooped, only to be replaced with another shoot or branchlet farther back up the limb...This happens dozens of times over a century...

This is an extreme example with a Southern Live Oak (the Angel Oak in S.C.). Every one of those undulations in the branches happened because the branch self-pruned and replaced. This species isn't a California oak, but the process is similar there as well.
 

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