I first wrote about this Live oak, Quercus virginiana, back in October 2015. It’s been sitting on the bench now for a couple of years, and aside from letting it grow out and giving it a haircut a couple of times a year, I haven’t done anything with it.
It has a solid history. First collected in 1997 by my late friend Allen Gautreau, it’s clearly got both actual age and age-in-training on its side. Over the years Allen brought the tree to a high level of artistry.
Since the last repotting of this old specimen was back in 2014, I felt it was certainly due some attention. This was true both below the soil surface as well as above. Time for some renewal pruning, clearing out crossing branches, etc.
When I removed the tree from its container and began cleaning up the area near the trunk base, I found that there’s a fine nebari and it’s been hidden likely for some time. Meaning there’s even more awesomeness to this specimen, just waiting to be uncovered.
Here’s what I ended up with. I turned the tree slightly in its new pot, so as to present the nebari in a more pleasing way. The branching had gotten out of hand, with plenty of crossing branches, plenty pointing back into the tree, etc. And the silhouette was a bit rangy.
All in all, I think I’ve done right by this Live oak bonsai. In a couple of weeks, it should start pushing new buds. I’ll let it grow out for a while, and then prune it back again. Stay tuned for an update later this year.
The trunk base on this tree is 2.25″ above the root crown, by the way, and it’s 21″ tall from the soil surface.
One more thing about live oaks, for those of you who haven’t worked with them. They are not technically evergreen, though you will read or hear that they are. The more correct term is “persistent-leaved.” Each year the foliage is shed, however, this occurs as new foliage emerges so effectively the tree is “evergreen.” They do not hold their foliage for two or more years, as pines and junipers do.
I’d love to hear what you think of this Live oak bonsai. Leave me a comment below.