chewing ideas down to stubble, then moving on…

Bonsai, Coast Live Oak

Posted by Jason on November 7, 2008


So this is my first bonsai post. Here goes…banzai!!! Okay that was a bad joke comparing two oft confused Japanese words. World, meet Oakie. He’s my first “real” bonsai purchase from a “real” bonsai nursery. I got him for cheap because, even though he is in a bonsai pot, he’s still considered pre-bonsai or potensai because of all the work that needs to be done developing his branch structure to produce the impression of age. Oakie started out with way too much foliage that was too high up on the tree, relative to how thick his trunk is:

Fresh from the nursery.

Fresh from the nursery.

So, at the recommendation of the nursery owner, I decided to give Oakie a whack with my handy dandy saw and cutters. This will keep the proportion of height to girth and, after several years, will help Oakie look more like a venerable old oak tree than a mere sapling. Post-chop height is about 15 inches from the top rim of the pot, so he’s not tiny by any means!

Oh the humanity!

Oh, the humanity!

Now you can’t just go around whacking trees down to 1 pair of leaves and expect them all to live. This trunk chop will be successful because I did it just before the growing season AND because this species sprouts well from new buds after trauma. Pine trees can’t take this sort of abuse. While cutting off so much foliage stresses poor Oakie, most of his energy is still stored in the roots this time of year and he’s just now getting ready to push out new leaf buds for the winter growing season. Since I limited the amount of avenues for growth by chopping these avenues off, the areas that remain will grow a ton pretty soon (crosses fingers).

At the time of this post (two weeks post-chop), there are a ton of buds getting ready to bust out into little leaves all over the trunk. Also, a new pair of leaves has developed just below the first pair. I think it’s working! More to follow on Oakie and his kin…


One Response to “Bonsai, Coast Live Oak”

  1. Kelli said

    Oh wow…that is really neat! I didn’t know all of that about Bonsai trees. Thanks for sharing!

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