I’m starting this series on cork oak with the second step – reducing branches that are too long or too straight. The first step is repotting the tree into bonsai soil and generating healthy roots.
Last year I repotted this oak in a training pot after nearly bare-rooting it. The field soil supported few roots so the old soil mostly fell away during repotting. The tree responded well to the repotting and grew well last year.
The tree is now ready for initial cutback. I don’t plan to use many of the existing branches as most are long and straight. In an effort to get the tree to produce new shoots, I reduced all of the long and straight branches.
Reducing the branch
After reducing the branch
I expect that new buds will appear on some of these shortened branches which will help develop better branch structure. Some stubs may dry out and completely die back. Both options are fine as I expect to create most of the future branches with new shoots.
Here’s what the tree looked like after cutback.
After cutback – 27″
I plan to let the tree grow freely through spring. When new shoots emerge I can start to add shape by wiring them before they grow too large to bend. The timing of the next cutback will depend on how quickly the tree grows. I expect this will be in spring or fall.