Oak trees are not the most popular bonsai species. Although oak trees are abundant in Japan, these majestic trees have not yet gained popularity. This is mainly due to the broad leaves that are not suitable when it comes to the art of miniature tree cultivation.
However, if you are thinking of creating a bonsai from an oak sapling, then you have come to the right place. It isn’t as simple as you might think, and you will need to exercise a lot of care. The good news is that the journey is rewarding, making it worth the time and effort.
Growing An Oak Bonsai from Seed Versus Buying a Grown Tree
Not all oak trees make good bonsai due to the occurrence of broad leaves, as stated earlier on. Growing an oak bonsai from seed can, therefore, be quite tricky, since you might not know whether the tree will make a good bonsai or not.
The advantage of using a grown tree is that you get to choose the characteristics that you want. Your bonsai will have similar characteristics to the donor plant. This ensures that you can look for all the traits that you might need in an oak bonsai.
Growing from seed will require cultivation over an extended period. Yes, you might want to start from scratch, but this needs a lot of patience. Growing from seed will take about three or four years more than buying a grown tree.
How to Grow Oak Bonsai From Seed
Growing an oak bonsai from seed can be rather tricky. You will need to plant several seeds and wait patiently for the seedling to emerge. This will take quite a while, making it impractical in many cases. You will then have to choose a healthy seedling to start designing your oak bonsai.
Using oak sapling is the preferred way, according to several experts. In this article, we will focus on using an oak sapling rather than a seed.
How to Grow Oak Bonsai From a Tree
It would help if you started by choosing a wild sapling that is well-rooted and between 6 inches to 12 feet tall. Pick a sapling with the main leader that can bend appropriately without breaking. Then it would help if you started creating your bonsai soil.
Mix peat moss and perlite in an equal ratio to get you the perfect bonsai growing medium. Proceed to repot your tree into a container using your soil.
Use small pruning shears to prune all the vigorous shoots that emerge on the upper tree level. You could always use scissors when you want to achieve precision. Leave all the fragile shoots in place.
Your oak bonsai should start taking shape as a miniature tree without losing its balance. Ensure that you encourage thin growth at the top and thick growth at the bottom.
Use scissors to clip all the leaves apart from those at the end of your branches. This will encourage your tree to bud out close to the trunk. Use aluminum wire to train the leader and branch while leaving a space of about a quarter-inch between the coils. You can then proceed to bend your oak bonsai to whatever shape you need. However, exercise a lot of caution because you don’t want to damage the bark while training.
Prune your branches during the late fall when your bonsai goes into dormancy. Always cut the end nodes on higher branches to encourage growth at the bottom.
Caring for Your Oak After Planting
Caring for your oak after planting is a simple task once you understand the basic guidelines. Fertilization, watering, and positioning are vital when caring for your oak tree. You need to ensure that you provide adequate water and fertilizer to your bonsai.
Proper position is also vital, especially when you plan on growing your bonsai indoors. You need to ensure that your oak bonsai gets sufficient sunlight and humidity throughout the year.
To effectively bonsai an oak sapling, you need a lot of patience. Proper care is equally important, especially during the early stages. This extensive guide should help you on your transformative journey in bonsai cultivation.