Many bonsai enthusiasts like to grow trees that are a little exotic and especially suggestive of Japan, but the traditional English Oak is a good tree for bonsai too. Oak trees are common in many types of climate and flourish in many temperatures. It also tolerates wet soil, unlike many bonsai trees that are hardy when pruned.
Collecting the Oak Bonsai Tree
Like most stressful activities, collecting should be done during the spring months. For the most part, trees are hardier at this time of the year and recover from the worst kind of wear and tear if it occurs during spring. Make sure that you have permission to remove trees from the area where you plan to do your collecting. Remember that public lands are protected by law, just as private land is.
Locate the young tree that you like and dig it up, being careful of the roots. Even though you will prune the root ball, the less damage you do to it the better. Wrap up the roots and transport it to your home.
Match your tree to a pot that is sized properly. It should give the roots a little room to grow. Shake excess dirt from the roots and trim them to the size you wish. They should be larger than the branches after they are trimmed. The pot should have good drainage. Use bonsai potting soil or a similar type of soil that will drain well. More bonsai trees are lost due to overly wet roots than any other type of mistake. However, the oak bonsai tree tolerates wet soil better than most bonsai.
In addition to the usual English Oak, the White Oak is a good choice for an oak bonsai tree. Untrained, it can reach heights of over 100 feet. It takes to training very well, though, resulting in a beautiful miniature tree. Summer leaves vary from gray to pink before turning dark green then brown and red in the fall. Consult a gardening expert at your gardening center or online to find out the sun and shade requirements for the variety of oak you are growing.
The oak bonsai tree is more likely to have problems with insects and disease than many other types of tree. In the wild, it can support over 200 types of insects. They are also prone to oak scale and can develop a powdery mildew in the summer. Awareness of these problems and their cure can go a long way in preventing them. As is the case with all bonsai, the oak bonsai tree is best cared for by an educated gardener.