I recently picked up a field grown cork oak with some nice movement in the trunk. There are, however, few usable branches at this point.
Field grown cork oak
As I’d like to encourage new branches to grow from the trunk, I cut back the existing branches to small side shoots.
Most of the remaining branches were straight so I added a few wires.
After adding a few wires
That’s about all of the attention the upper part of the tree requires for now. The roots, however, are another matter. Because the tree was dug up from the ground two years ago, there is still some old soil in the center of the rootball. I decided to repot the tree to remove as much of the old soil as possible.
After removing old soil from the center of the rootball
It turns out that the surface roots had been buried a couple of inches below the soil. By planting the tree higher in the pot, I’m effectively making the trunk two inches longer. Here’s a close-up of the lower section of the trunk.
Close-up of the lower trunk
It also turns out there is a little reverse taper. This is common as cork oaks don’t cork up as much below the surface of the soil. By exposing the lower part of the trunk to the sun, I can expect it to begin corking and eventually overcome any reverse taper.
I repotted the oak in a clay pot that will give it plenty of room to develop new roots. Once the tree has primary branches and a healthy root system, I’ll move it into a bonsai pot.
The tree can grow freely for the next several months until May or June at which point I’ll look to cut back and wire the new shoots.
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