a quick take on two oaks

Sneak Peak

One of these trees you’ve seen before, the other you haven’t. The Water oak was featured in a previous blog, the Live oak is just now getting strong enough to begin its bonsai journey. Here’s where they are as of now.

A Quick Take on Two Oaks

You may remember this Water oak from the recent blog I posted about it. As I’ve noted before, just about every collected deciduous tree you’ll grow for bonsai will start out as either a stick in a pot or a stump in a pot. This one was no different. And from that humble beginning, this is it’s current state of development.


This is what makes this tree newsworthy as of today: notice that new shoot in the closeup. It simply could not be in a better spot. I knew there was a dormant bud here, but just because you have a dormant bud doesn’t mean it’s going to move. When I recently cut this tree back, there was a possibility that the energy would get redirected. And it looks like that’s what happened.

Once the shoot is long and strong enough, I’ll wire and position it. That should make for a better design.

This Live oak was collected in March. Live oaks are not easy to lift, and deciding when to do so is a challenge. This year I went on the assumption that since they change their foliage in March, collecting just prior to this event ought to work. Since both of the specimens I lifted from my field growing area survived, I’m thinking I’m onto something.

This is two months later. Nothing to write home about. Still, not giving up.

Just over two weeks later. That’s more like it. This tree has finally decided to wake up and start moving.

I’m a proponent of starting the design of recovering deciduous specimens as soon as possible. This is when the shoots/branches are the most supple, meaning they’re easier to introduce movement into. (They’re also most vulnerable to snapping off, so it takes a deft hand.)

I’m expecting that as the growing season gets longer in the tooth, this tree will have put on more growth than you’d see for many trees. The Live oak, stately and long-lived species that it is, grows surprisingly fast in its youth.

Let me know what you think of these two trees. I love oaks as bonsai subjects, and if you’ve tried them I suspect you do as well.