Jesse,speaking about repotting bonsai in general and not specifically oak bonsai, the amount of root removal is a function of the amount of viable remaining roots to take over particularly those above the tap root. Also traditionally we were told to leave an equal amount of foliage to roots. Nowadays, many feel that more foliage than roots is viable and necessary to build more roots. This will help with establish the water/oxygen balance in the soil. Once you take all of this and perhaps other factors into account, then you can look for a pot size to accommodate the roots you have left.
So this is what the leaves are looking like at the moment. They LOOK bad…but still feel right. They’re not dry or crispy. They don’t break. I can still feel the waxy coating. I know they’re discoloured, curling in on themselves and starting to hang…but they don’t feel dead. Just wanted to give an update! They were far worse a week back. I’ve been watering and misting religiously and it feels like they’re responding.
Good sign they are not dry! Hopefully it’s a shock only and weakness of the tree. Seems like you are putting a lot of effort into making it survive and deffo you care - so hoping it will eventually shows you the appreciation
Gone to meet its maker😢
Should grow new buds.
From personal experience, give an oak two springs before assuming its dead. They always sprout from the roots… Shade and water sparingly.
TS, given the fact there are no or soon to be no viable leaves, you could plant the tree in ground, sun or not. Leave tree for next year’s growing season. You never know what a tree will do to survive. It’s a long shot. Consider it an experiment. I did the same thing with a Japanese maple this spring I had been developing for many years but suffered from last year’s fluctuating winter temperatures. No activity on my maple yet save for its new role as a trellis for a wisteria. And the way tendrils on wisteria grow, it might become a phoenix graft. LOL.
I’ll post pictures later but I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that I failed in rescuing this tree. I tried my very best, even missing a couple camping trips to stay home so I can mist the foliage. I’m gong to take your advice though, @DavidJ and plant it in the ground. Won’t hurt to try! Maybe it’ll surprise us. This rescue started when I saw city workers ripping the tree out of the ground. I knew it was a long shot but it was too nice an oak to just let them chop up and discard of. On the bright side, I’ve collected over a dozen seedlings or second year oaks growing around the neighbourhood. Everyone one of them is doing great and three have great potential to be strong material in a year or two. I always try to find a positive angle so the fact that I’ve only lost one of over a dozen, even if it was by far the best tree, makes me feel good about what I’ve done.
Long shots are just that. The key thing is learning from the experience. There is an interesting article from the UK about collecting oaks in the summer. Go online looking for “collecting oak bonsai” by B4ME. If you can’t find it let me know and I will dig up the link. You are serious and you are doing good.
Jesse, I just noticed that some of the what I thought were dead buds on the last resort planting of an assumed dead Japanese maple in the ground, are now showing buds opening. No telling if they will continue to grow and become viable but at least there is some hope. Could also become the case for your oak.
Hah. That’s awesome! I’ve already transferred it into the ground. We’ll see what happens! Thanks again for all the help. I had a great day working on a Pinus Sylvestris Watereri I posted it here as it was a ton of work and I was pretty happy with the outcome!
Have you tried scraping a bit of fresh bark off with your thumb nail? If you can find fresh green cambium, there may still be life. If you can’t, then it’s probably gone.