I have yet to find a bonsai variety that develops as quickly in my backyard as cork oak.
The cork oak below was dug from a nearby nursery at the beginning of 2016. Unlike the other oaks that were dug the same day, this one promptly lost all of its leaves and showed few signs of life for the next month (see tree three in “Cork oak” and “Field grown cork oak update” for details).
The tree continued to grow well last year and sent out another flush of growth this past spring. After additional cutback and wiring two months ago, the tree is full again.
Cork oak, August 2017
If you look closely, you can find a few yellow leaves. These are last year’s leaves. When lots of new growth appears, the old leaves commonly yellow out and fall off.
Old foliage turning yellow
Seeing so much new growth makes me wonder if the branches have swollen much since the last wiring.
Wire cutting in
Unsurprisingly, a few of the wires have started to cut in. This isn’t a problem for oaks, and it’s a good sign that the branch has begun to set. I removed a few of the wires that were cutting in the most and left the rest alone.
After removing the wire
I also noticed a few spots where a number of new shoots emerged at the base of primary branches.
New shoots at the base of the first branch
While I don’t typically cut back oaks when they’re growing, I’ll sometimes thin out these crowded areas to encourage the tree to produce foliage on existing branches.
After removing the extra shoots
Beyond these small touches, I didn’t do any additional work. The idea is that the tree can gain strength by growing freely. When the growth slows down this fall, I’ll cut back again and wire any branches that need it.
No big changes – cork oak after removing a few new shoots
This Weekend – REBS 34th Annual Bonsai Exhibit
The Redwood Empire Bonsai Society is hosting their 34th annual exhibit this weekend at the Santa Rosa Veterans Building in Santa Rosa, California. Hours are 10-5 Saturday and 10-4 Sunday. The exhibit is the largest in Northern California and the vendor area is one of the best in the area. I’ll be there with pots, trees, tools and supplies – hope to see you there!
Subscribe to Bonsai Tonight
New Posts Delivered Every Tuesday and Friday