Movement in oaks

If movement adds vale, then how much would these hectic oaks be worth? Parley Gorge, Peak District, UK


Great looking trees :grinning:, Here are some oaks from the PNW. These are growing all along a section of coastline where I live. The winds definitely played a part in creating the amazing trunk movement. Picture was taken at the end of April, leaves were just emerging.


Awesome trees @MtBakerBonsai!
I would not have guessed they were oak. Just goes to show what a versatile genus they are. Are they from the Washington coast?


It is the Washington coast. I live in Bellingham, south of the US/Canadian border and 80 miles north of Seattle.

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Any idea what type Oak?:thinking: Both posts?:roll_eyes:
Now I want to throw wire on my straight trunks…

And some people think we do weird things to trees.

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Beautiful part of the world. I hiked in The Enchantments near Leavenworth WA in 1990, and the dwarf larch left a lasting impression.

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Robur, also known as English Oak

Location of my pics is “Padley” Gorge, just outside of Sheffield. (not Parley)

I believe they are Quercus garryana, Oregon White Oak AKA Garry Oak

I`m wrangling Q. gambelii. Utah scrub oak. Lovely small leaves. Will bud out from TRUNK.
Also working on English, white, red. The leaves on these are larger, have to be very large bonsai. Not there yet.
My club don’t like oak cause of the leaves…
I also did horse chestnut. Was able to reduce leaves to 2". Vole ate em down to the dirt line… all. Now I have several 5 limb one year old stumps…

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These are great inspiration photos. I wanted to chime in on a technique that Guy Guidry taught me which will help in creating this wicked growth. Normally, when I wire a branch, I twist the wire as I go without introducing movement. Then I go back and introduce the bends and twists to give the branch movement and character. Guy taught me to coil the branch as I wire. What I end up with is a stretched out spring. The look is rather unnatural, of course. To “naturalize” it, I go back and introduce the same sorts of movements as usual; compress or extend the coils; add left/right/up/down bends. What I get in the end is a much more wicked looking branch than I could have created without his technique. Further, as the tree ages, the twists begin to reveal themselves as coiling twists in the bark. Looking at your photo, I see the same twists and coiling that I hope I’m creating in a branch.

Mathematics is often used to describe the growth of branches. The Fibonacci sequence does a great job of doing this. Think of triangular ferns growing out from the trunk and replicating in smaller detail as branches of branches (of branches…). Each branch seeks the sun and older branches must reach further and further as younger (and younger…) branches shade out the inner foliage. Patterned growth is rewarded when the pattern continues.

Sometimes near-random chaos is rewarded, as in the example of your photos. Varying internode lengths and changes in growth make me think that the branches didn’t ever have an end node we could quickly recognize as end-of-branch. Rather, the branch grew out, grew it’s own branches, any (or many) of which will become the new leader. There’s no central line to the tree or it’s branches. I like to lay out beneath the live oaks and bald cypress of my area and study these movements. Joe Day calls these “Cees and Jays”. Something about exterior and interior triggers caused a branch to follow a new direction and then choose again.

Hmmmm… Audubon Park is right across the street from the university. I wish it wasn’t so hot. I need to keep a blanket in my truck and head over there for lunch sometime soon.

Is there such a think as a “Michelangelo Easel” for sketching? Lay on my back and do a portrait (skyscape?) of the undersides of canopies?


Bad, bad, voles. Congrats on having the guts of trying to make a horse chestnut into a bonsai. A member of the Toronto Bonsai Society brought his horse chestnut to the Spring Show and won “Best Tree in Show”.
We all have to think outside of the box. Mirai is helping that approach. And so are you.

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Ahh beautiful. I live in Surrey/Langley in BC …about 2 hours north of this photo. The coast is about 20 mins from my house and this photo is a great representation of the natural asthetics offered in the area. I’ve got over a dozen various oak species at varying ages that I’ve collected over the years. In late spring you can’t walk 10 steps in any neighbourhood without seeing an oak seedling. Walking my dog I collect probably 20 a year. Some make it through the first winter, some don’t. It’s a finicky species to be sure…but such a powerful tree in its later years.

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@BillsBayou, it would be great to see you performing this wiring technique on a video…

I have shown this technique in a video or two. However, your interest in it makes me think I should add to my current video format. I need to do some videos that showcase a specific technique.

I’ll need to do more kayaking for bald cypress source material and walks through New Orleans City Park for their 600 year old trees. The wiring that I Guy Guidry taught me does a great job of getting me from straight branch to natural feeling of old and twisted.

I’m chasing the Q. gambelii here in Utah. Here is a nice specimen I recently encountered at the Denver Botanical Garden.


Awsome specimine. Nice base / trunk. Good movement. Utah are scrub oak. Usually bushy, not upright. Slow to put on girth. From observations, can be chewed down to the nub and survive…!
If you are near the Uintaws mountains, get some closeup photos!

Great oak. Good on the Denver Botanical Garden. On the hunt for white oak in Ontario, Canada. Some interesting results but until the trees get through the first year, there is nothing real to talk about. Keep you posted.

@BillsBayou - yes please on the video!