One of my favorite oaks in the garden has been growing freely for the past few years. Now that it’s showing signs of vigor, it’s time for pruning!
New shoots on a coast live oak
It turns out that many of the interior branches lacked ramification so I ended up shortening most of the branches on the tree. By doing this, I can stimulate new shoots near the cut sites.
Here’s the tree after pruning.
After pruning – 20″
As you can see, the trunk splits into two main divisions, but there are relatively few secondary branches. As the new growth fills in, I can wire the new shoots to fill gaps and improve the tree’s shape.
Seeing the trunk clearly also led me to think about alternative fronts for the tree. I’d wanted to rotate the tree clockwise when I repotted last winter, but the shape of the rootball prevented me from using the front I’d selected. Depending on how the new growth fills in, I might rotate the tree the next time I repot.
Alternative front accentuating movement to the left
Four weeks after pruning, the tree was covered with new shoots.
One month later
New growth on coast live oaks is often bright red which makes for great summer color in a predominantly green garden.
Bright red new growth
New buds often emerge from all points along the trunk on oaks after significant pruning. I try to knock these buds off as soon as I see them to prevent the trunk from producing additional callus tissue (which can lead to even more new shoots along the trunk).
New buds low on the trunk
After removing the low buds
I’ll let the tree grow freely until fall at which point I plan to wire some of the new shoots to set them up for thickening next year.
Summer Tree Sale Starts Today!
For the next few weeks, I’ll be listing bonsai for sale on the website. The trees are a mix of conifers, deciduous, and broadleaf evergreens. All trees are in bonsai pots.
Trees can be picked up in Alameda, CA, anytime, or at the US National Bonsai Exhibition in Rochester, NY, on Friday, September 10th. Shipping is not available at this time.
The sale is live now – check out the trees at the Bonsai Sales page.
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