Desirai
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:50 am
Location: Alabama

Bonsai oak tree?

Hi, I'm new to the forum. Not sure if this is the right section.

Well okay. I inherited my dad's green thumb but I didn't realize it until maybe the past 2 or 3 years.

My mom had a bonsai tree that she murdered. I tried to bring it back to life but I failed.

In my research of bonsai care, I have seen amazing things.

Part of a recent project, I have grown 5 healthy baby oak trees. Each one is in its own pot, each one between 7 and 12 inches tall.

I would like to try and turn one (or more) of these little oaks into bonsai oaks!

Can oaks be bonsai trees?

Obviously I am posting because I have no idea how to start.

I've read a few bonsai tutorials and watched a few videos but am still clueless as to how to start.

Do any of you have experience turning oaks (or any other large trees) into bonsais?

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rainbowgardener
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Congratulations on your baby oak trees! When you say you have grown them, that means from seed, right? So what you have is tiny, thin seedlings that are 7 to 12 inches tall?

Oaks can certainly make beautiful bonsai minature trees. Here's a picture of one:

https://bonsai-plants.net/oak-bonsai.php

Notice the remarkably thick trunk on the little tree. That's the effect that bonsai growers are usually going for... the idea is to look like a full sized, mature/ aged tree, just in minature.

The only way to get that look (to my knowledge - warning, I am not a bonsai grower myself, just read a lot about them) is to grow the tree out until the trunk is at least close to the thickness you want and then basically cut the tree off and make a bonsai from the stump. So what you want to do is put your baby seedlings in big pots or even in the ground and just leave them alone and let them grow for a few years. Growing bonsai from seed takes remarkable patience, which is why I don't do it...

There's a rough guideline that I have seen that says the height of your bonsai tree should be about six times the diameter of the trunk. So if your little seedlings have trunks half an inch in diameter (being generous, probably less) then to be in scale as a bonsai now, they could only be three inches tall. That's why they need to be grown out more.

In the meantime while you wait for the oak seedlings to make trunks, you could get yourself a ready made bonsai to practice on.
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manofthetrees
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not to discourage you from your project, but this will take some time. trees like the photo are usaully harvested when the trunk is that size. the trees are cut to a living stump and allowed to grow branches which are then trained over many years. so you will have to plant these in the ground or large pots to get a thick trunck and go from there. if you have oak trees in your area you can look for larger seedlings to speed up the process. not to say what you are doing is wrong, i do it with maples they are like weeds by me, jst keep in mind it is a long process

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applestar
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:lol: Now you got me -- uh -- inspired. :lol: :>

I have some red oak that sprouted near the mailbox. I think this will be their third winter. I've been keeping them (I think there are 3 growing within inches of eachother) -- and telling DH not to cut them down -- because I hadn't decided what to do about them: Let them grow and move the mailbox? (DH thinks the roots will raise the concrete sidewalk and the driveway which will be a hassle down the road) Dig them up and move them? Chop them down?

There's another red oak that started growing in the middle of the Astilbe -- this one has gorgeous fall color. It's also about 3 yrs old.

8) 8) 8) :wink:

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manofthetrees
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your lucky i've jst got maples, its weeks of weeding them in mid summer :evil: . i would move the ones by the driveway it may already be difficult with stuff nearby. the stuff ive seen workd on have 2 to 3 inch trunks that were just chopped to size pretty radical stuff but the end results are amazing

good luck

The Rookie
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Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:57 am
Location: Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Hello-

I've been wondering about this question too. We actually had two (2) trees that I believe are Oak trees in between our wooden fence and our neighbor's wooden fence in our backyard (there was about 8 inches between each fence).

We were actually trying to cut back the trees in the hope that they would die off, but they kept growing back. The Oak trees' growth kept poking out between our fence and our neighbor's fence. The growth looked bad and sort of made our backyard look unkept. It was amazing really how tough these trees are.

Anyways, we decided to take down our side of the fence that abutted our neighbor's fence this past fall. I got a good look at these trees and they have 3 - 4 inch trunks and are about one foot tall without leaves!

I think these trees will make great bonsai (with the exception of their large leaves). I plan on transferring these two trees to bonsai pots this year and have been reading up on Oaks as bonsai. It will be interesting to see how deep the tap-roots are on these trees. I anticipate getting these trees out of the ground will be difficult to say the least.

I refer you the following link regarding oak trees as bonsai: https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Quercus.html

If you google Quercus Bonsai trees you will find a variety of images that show you how promising these trees can be as bonsai. I will refer to this post in the future as I attempt to transfer my Oak trees and make them into bonsai.

Best of luck to you.

Jason

tomc
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Re: Bonsai oak tree?

Desirai wrote:--><8 snip 8><--- Part of a recent project, I have grown 5 healthy baby oak trees. Each one is in its own pot, each one between 7 and 12 inches tall.

I would like to try and turn one (or more) of these little oaks into bonsai oaks! Can oaks be bonsai trees?
I've not had much luck with red oaks. The smaller leaf examples are positively geologically slow. ilicifolia-bear oak is an example. *If* you like an almost unchanging tree that will stay 'twiggy' for a long time. Red-oak may be a good place to evoke that.

White oaks and English oak hybrids are a lot faster on the grow, and can be feild grown for a period of years and then stumped, and allowed to bud back in-field before taking up to train in trays.
Obviously I am posting because I have no idea how to start.

I've read a few bonsai tutorials and watched a few videos but am still clueless as to how to start.

Do any of you have experience turning oaks (or any other large trees) into bonsais?
Plant your sapling tree in a garden bed, wait 5 to 10 years before coppicing them. Alow tree to back bud before taking up out of the garden.

If you have the time and temperment to field grow trees and 'stump' them into a first styling, there are other trees that give bigger bang for your time spent. In the north Larch, in many other states crab apple. in zone 5b and south bald cypress. In the deep south TX ebony.
Think like a tree
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