Collecting a Chestnut oak

jws41954(z7 Va.)July 25, 2005

I found an oak growing on my land, shaded from very little light. The tree was 12' tall and 5" trunk at the soil level, tapered to 2 1/2" at 30". The bark is unreal from soil level to 20". It has a little reverse taper that was below the ground, which is now uncovered with sucker shoots starting to sprout out, hopefully this will help thicken the trunk base. The tree was shortened to 36" this past winter. It has a very big tap root. Should I cut around the tree to establish feeder roots first then in a couple yrs. cut the tap root when it is collected. Thanks for any additional help and advice. JW

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Welby_M_D(7 DE)

Oaks usually have very long tap roots.
This oak has very large(4"-6")leaves.
Large leaves on a bonsai don't look very realistic.
I know it's not what you want to hear but personally I'd pass on this species as a bonsai.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 1:53PM
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jws41954(z7 Va.)

Welby, I know about the leaf size not making an ideal bonsai, but the bark on this tree is 1 1/2" thick and looks like it could be hundreds of yrs. old. I'm still looking for advice for collecting the tree.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 6:46PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Some Chesnut oaks have remarkably coarse, hugely furrowed, corky bark (as fire-protection?), tho not sure I've seen it on such a small tree -- it takes time to develop it. They can be dwarfed by extreme xeric conditions (like growing on steep shale barrens), but I don't think they tolerate shade for very long. So it's hard to guess the exact nature of this tree. And not sure we're even talking about the same bark characteristic?

It sounds like a neat discovery, but offhand seems too large to deal w/as a potted tree, IMHO. Your proposed efforts sound reasonable, tho.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 11:19AM
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jws41954(z7 Va.)

Beng, The tree is growing close to my property line. My woods border a cow pasture.on this side. The trees growing close to the fence are all growing to the light. The woods along the fence were very grown up,I have since cleaned it out so more light gets to all the trees I have topped. I will probably take 3or4 yrs. to collect this tree, so when I do cut the tap root there will be hopefully enough feeder roots to survive. The tree's bark is just unreal for the size of the tree. I will just have to put up with the larger leaves. PS. The tree was growing straight up for 4' then it turned an almost 90 degree angle and was growing beneath the heavy tree canopy.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2005 at 7:44PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Sounds like it was badly bent, but not broken in youth, survived somehow & subsisting on meager sunlight. So it may be older than one might think -- and/or it has an "extreme" coarse-bark trait. There may be other Q. prinus around to compare.

Good luck w/the project.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 8:10AM
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when you collect it and it recovers, can't you completely leaf prune it to get smaller leaves to come back?

forgive my ignorance as I'm pretty new to bonsai, but aren't the leaves supposed to develop smaller when they come back on completely defoliated and well ramified deciduous trees?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2005 at 12:51PM
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bwaynef(z7 SC)

Theres mention of collecting oaks I just read on a thread somewhere. The secret to compensating for lack of fine roots is spaghnum moss. Treat it like an airlayer and persevere thru the sulking period (of possibly 2-3 years) and you should be rewarded with a flush of growth eventually.

Deep potting after applying rootone-like hormones further up the trunk/rootage is another method. Look around.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 9:25AM
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