chewing ideas down to stubble, then moving on…

Xmas UPDATE: Bonsai, Coast Live Oak

Posted by Jason on December 21, 2008

So Christmas will be my two-month anniversary with Oakie. We’ve had some rough times, but it’s all good and he doesn’t resent me for chopping his head off. Here’s some pictures of the progression:

Freshly Butched

Freshly Butched


3 weeks later

3 weeks later



Two Months Post-Chop

I’m stoked that I did something drastic and it’s working! I’m not sure if any of my other major operations have been successful yet. We’ll see come springtime! 

With Oakie I’ll now have to work on getting the lower branches to grow out and thicken up while keeping the top branches small. Trees naturally want to grow the most at the top and outsides: that’s how they compete for light and ensure airflow around the trunk. I’ll interrupt this growth pattern of apical dominance by pinching off new top growth in spring. When you pinch growth on the top and outsides, it sends chemical signals down to the rest of the buds and branches that it’s ok to grow. The same thing happened with the trunk chop, just on a much larger scale. I chopped a huge portion of the foliage off of the top, and this sent the signal down to dormant buds all along the trunk that they could grow. That’s how we got the explosion of new growth from places where there weren’t any leaves of branches before.

Pretty cool, eh?


3 Responses to “Xmas UPDATE: Bonsai, Coast Live Oak”

  1. ApK said

    I can’t wait to show this post to my better half – he has been wanting to try some bonsai, and we are both big fans of our California natives – looks like you’ve got a good one going there!

  2. Jason said

    Thanks for the comment! Bonsai is super-addicting. Check the “California Native Plants” link on my blogroll. It’s a cool native nursery with tons and tons of info. I’m messing around with a California Sycamore for bonsai, but it’s for sure a work in progress. Will post some pics come spring…

  3. godshouldnthave said

    It looks great. Nice move.

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