In keeping with recent fun, today I decided to chop, lift and pot a Live oak, Quercus Virginiana. This is a specimen I’ve grown from seed, along with a number of others, since 2011. While it isn’t a large specimen by any means, having a trunk base of 1″ diameter, I saw a potential structure I thought would work fairly well right out of the ground.







First I removed most of the top of the tree, by chopping the trunk. I’ve cut to a smaller section of trunk that happens to be going the right way.












Next I removed the bulk of the new leader, cutting to a smaller section of trunk that happened to be going the right way.
















When I saw these roots I was astounded. My conclusion is that as a live oak grows from seed, it really sets out a massive root system to ensure its own stability. Now, I removed the tap root from this tree when it was just a seedling, but the fact is live oaks and most other deciduous/persistent-leaf trees lose their tap roots at some point in life, being left with only their radial root systems. Another fact about live oak is that you are unlikely to ever see one get blown over in a storm (I’ve never seen it happen personally). This tells me they have an amazingly stable root system, and given the fact that the root spread of a tree goes a good distance beyond the spread of the tree, and we all know how far a live oak can spread, those roots must go on just shy of forever. Anyway, I had to cut these roots back drastically to fit a bonsai pot.

A little wire, a little soil and a Byron Myrick oval later, here’s what I ended up with. The tree is fairly tall at 18″, but I think I can make a good statement with it by keeping the spread in check. I’m thinking literati Live oak bonsai.

What do you think of this one? Does it speak to you?