Quercus cerris - in refinement

Hi all, new to the forum.
Would welcome constructive criticism of design or discussion of refinement of this species.
In the last year I’ve realised that selective partial defoliation is essential to balanced energy distribution, along with pinching of terminal buds in the dominant areas.
Here’s the same tree 8 years ago:


Hi Matt. Welcome to the forum!

Love what you’ve done so far and fantastic reference image in the blog post. I enjoy your field maple too.

In terms of suggestions for the overall image:

  1. Indicated in RED I’d grow these branches long and thicken them up a good deal more. I feel that would improve the image of a typical naturalistic oak. I’d consider defoliating the rest and not midsummer defoliate these three branches for a few years.

  2. Indicated in BLUE is a fairly straight section, I feel that thickening the branch (red) originating from the middle of that straight section will disguise its straightness somewhat.

  3. I’m unsure how thread grafts take on Turkey oak. Probably fine. If this were my tree I’d consider a thread graft indicated in YELLOW. I enjoy the reaching branches but I feel a branch originating from around this point and trailing up and back toward the rear would add some depth. I feel it would benefit from this added depth. Hard to show the perspective of it going backwards from that point, but hopefully you can imagine what I mean.

Really nice job with your oak. Look forward to seeing it in a UK show.


@Ralph, thanks such for your encouragement, I’m glad you appreciate these trees of mine. I think your advice is really helpful and we’ll considered. In the first five years or so I really struggled to manage this trees strong tendancy towards apical dominance, but in the past few years (and particularly last year) I’ve been able to promote better balance and vigor in he lower branches.
The lowest right branch now has some good back budding, so thickening and lengthening it with tapper should be easy enough. I can probably train a whip up from there to thread graft, which I’m sure will take as it callouses well.
Thanks very much indeed!
… a show, now there’s an idea, I’ve honestly never considered showing my trees. Perhaps I will eventually.

No probs, thanks for posting it. Was wondering – it looks like you’ve used copper wire on this oak. Is that something you prefer? …On certain or all deciduous. E.g. did/would you use it on Camprestre too? Recently it’s something I’ve started to use on deciduous over aluminium and prefer for some reasons. I’d be interested to hear other’s opinions.


I almost exclusively use copper wire on all my deciduous trees, I have a few reasons for doing so. I prefer it’s holding capacity and find that it’s work hardening properties make it a superior choice. Also, aesthetically it is lighter on the tree, looks nicer, and has a beautiful feel to work with. I love the crackle of the annealed oxide layer as you apply it.
I don’t feel that it marks the bark more than aluminium, as long as you have good technique.
William N. Valavanis apparently also uses copper for all his maples, and I don’t see wire scars on his trees!
I use wide gauge aluminium for major bends on primary branching or young trunks in development, for example I just put movement into a 10-15mm diameter Cercidiphyllum japonicum I am starting work on and used two lengths of paper towel wrapped 4mm aluminium to do so. Pot mesh tie ins and tree tie downs are all in 2.5mm aluminium too.

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Interesting to hear, thanks. It appeals to me for the same three reasons you mentioned. It certainly has a more enjoyable natural and tactile feel, which I don’t get in the slightest with anodised aluminium. I’ve also heard about Bill Valavanis using copper on his maples. I think he mentioned it in the interview with Ryan for the Asymmetry podcast. The main downside being the extra expense over aluminium, especially if it only stays on a couple of months on deciduous. :sweat_smile:

The cost aspect isn’t as great as it may seem, larger diameters work out rather expensive but because of its superior holding capacity I find that a lot can be done with 1.2mm and 2mm wire in refinement, rolls of which are relatively economical… and of course you don’t have to wire everything (though I often do, because I enjoyed tweaking things).
Of course, one could source regular copper wire which could be a third of the price and anneal it yourself in a fire https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/copperwi.htm … not that I’ve done it!

Interesting read, thanks. I’ve looked into the DIY annealing before (briefly) but before long decided “what am i thinking, already got enough to do”. :sweat_smile:

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