I love oak bonsai. Oaks are, in fact, among the best deciduous species available for bonsai. They take to pot culture well, backbud well, have great bark, and many species have small leaves. What’s not to like? Here’s a Water oak I lifted this summer in order to make way for some landscape modifications. Though it didn’t but all the way up and down the trunk, it did give me enough to work with.
Chop, wire, shape. This specimen isn’t much to look at, but I can grow out the leader next year sufficiently to make the transition at the chop look realistic. From there it’ll just be a matter of creating a branch structure.
Here’s another Water oak that budded even lower on the chopped trunk. The base on this one is so nice it’s worth growing out. The project should take four or five years, but it promises to be fun.
The first step is to chop back that long leader, so that this coming year I can build another section of the trunk. Doesn’t look like much of anything, does it?
I first showed you this oak back in February. When I first lifted it, I was convinced it was a Water oak. As the tree grew out, the leaves kept getting bigger and bigger. I’m now convinced it’s what we call Red oak commonly but is officially Nuttall oak (if further research produces a different result, I’ll update you).
The growth has been outstanding this year, so much so that I’ve had to cut it back four or five times. The only problem with the growth, however, is that it’s been mostly concentrated in the upper half of the tree. It did produce a late bud lower down the trunk, so that’s worth taking advantage of.
First a little trimming to bring the height down.
Making use of the low back branch in order to put some foliage where I need it. When this branch fills out next year, it will be a critical help to the design.
Same thing for that first left side branch – wire and position. A nice tree form is taking shape.
A little wire on a branch in the crown, a final trim, and I think I’ve got a nice oak bonsai in the making. Let me know what you think about this tree. Personally, I really like it. I think the leaves are going to reduce well-enough to make it believable.