Saint Jonny
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Location: Harpenden, UK

Trunk chop - when and how?

So I've just bought a nice 1.5m English Oak from a diy/garden centre for £9.99 (they couldn't find a price so they made a guess!) It has some fantastic taper going on with lovely nebari already. Just need to trunk chop it in order to start bonsai-ing it!

Thing is, I've read contrasting views on when to do this and how to go about it. Any advice? It does have 2 branches low enough to become new leaders. And I would post a photo but our internet is down at present (using my mobile to access this now but won't let me upload photos!) Your suggestions would be much appreciated!
My blog: Micra Dendra (Greek for little trees!)

kdodds
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Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

IF, and only IF, the trunk is the size you want it to be, find a pot for it. Unpot it from its current pot, root prune and chop and pot. If it's not grown to where you want it to be, get it into a large pot, as large as possible, or the ground, and let it grow.

Saint Jonny
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Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:08 pm
Location: Harpenden, UK

Well I think it is. Right at the base it's 4cm (1.5") in diameter, which going by certain rules mean it could be 24-40cm (9-15"). But is there a best time of year to do it? And what's the best way to do it to avoid ugly scaring?
My blog: Micra Dendra (Greek for little trees!)

kdodds
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Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Well, a trunk chop is always going to leave SOME evidence behind. For this reason, it best to have it either wthin the canopy or at or angled to the back of the tree. My Quercus, Q. virginiana, I only ever do major chopping or pruning in spring.

tomc
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For me, even with an early spring pruning my english oak tends to die back one extra internode from where I cut it.

This leaves a stump till the following year when I can prune obvious evidence of a pruning away.

I only prune oak when they are dormant in the spring.

Sugar maples get a prune late in August. To reduce spring bleed-out.
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kdodds
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Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Good point tomc, the Live Oak is evergreen and, so, behaves a little differently. It doesn't die back after pruning, but it only puts out limited new growth, IME, in the spring and then slows considerably. After spring, it my put out one more leaf per node, max.

tomc
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kdodds wrote:Good point tomc, the Live Oak is evergreen and, so, behaves a little differently. It doesn't die back after pruning, but it only puts out limited new growth, IME, in the spring and then slows considerably. After spring, it my put out one more leaf per node, max.
Kdodds, arre they a red oak or a white? The live-oaks that is.

Thanks
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kdodds
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Not sure what you mean by that. The only red and white oaks I know are distinct species, Q. rubra and Q. alba, respectively. The "Live Oak", or "Virginia Live Oak" is Q. virginiana and is a warm-temperate through to subtropical species found all of the way down into zone 10 in Florida. Hence, it can be kept indoors (cool house). There are some other oaks that even extend down into full tropical climates, but I haven't been able to find them for sale anywhere.

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