This is a Water oak, Quercus nigra, that I lifted last year. It budded a bit high, but I decided to accept the challenge of making a nice bonsai from it. I love working with oaks, and you’ll see more of them in the coming weeks including several for sale.

This shot is from last October. Oaks grow quickly, even in a pot, so you can make a lot of progress in short order.

Here’s the same tree, earlier this month. I had worked the leader last year, and in this photo you can see it’s been cut back again for the next round of development. But my plan is to get it into a bonsai pot now, because I can complete the design in a bonsai pot and save time that way.
I think this Byron Myrick rectangle suits the tree nicely. I get a masculine vibe from it.
Oaks are among the last species on my benches to bud out in spring, but they’re well worth the wait. They also tend to ramify easily, as you can see in this photo. The only problem with this tree is that my first and second branches are on the “wrong” sides of the tree. But it’s common for trees not to give us the branch positioning exactly where we want it, so that’s where our creativity is vital.
This tree, pretty much from inception, was not destined to fit the informal upright mold. The first branch was just too high on the trunk. So with that understood, I think the best simple solution is to go with the so-called broom-form structure. This tree will make a great specimen of that style, which incidentally is the most common for all deciduous trees. To change the style of this tree will take some wire and bending.
And here’s the beginning of my solution. If you compare this photo with the one above, notice how the foliage masses on the first two branches are now less far apart visually. This is a technique you can use to change the appearance of your trees, namely, using the positions of the foliage masses rather than the branch emergence points to make the visual design work. In this case, I’ve brought more balance to the tree. Let me know what you think of this Water oak. I’m excited to see it develop this year, and I’ll post updates as the growing season progresses.