Red Oak / Italian Cypress Nursery Stock

Red Oak

I came across this tree at the local nursery. It’s in a 15-gallon container marked Red Oak. It caught my eye because it flares nicely at the base and has a little wiggle in the trunk [Fig.1, Fig.2]. The taper is decent up until about eight inches, then not. The tree stands about six feet tall [Fig.3].

When I see trees like this one I always think, I’ll just cut it down to size and new branches will grow and it will be amazing. But it can’t be that simple, it never is. So I’m left with questions.

  1. Is this tree worth the investment? Would the characteristics I see in this tree be dismissed by a more practiced and discerning artist?
  2. Is the trunk chop a legitimate approach? Ever? If not, what is the right approach? Keep walking?

Italian Cypress

Same scenario here, same questions. The base is stunning up until about 12 inches, then no taper [Fig.4]. The tree stands about 12 feet tall [Fig.5].

I can speak to the Red Oak a little as I have them in the landscape and many volunteers in pots in the yard every year. Like most Quercus, I have a love for them in the wild, but they present challenges in pots. They have big leaves. They will reduce but not to the point where they make great bonsai because of the leaf size. You may get them down to palm size from hand size, but to date I have not gotten them smaller than that. I don’t know what the price is of the nursery tree, and while it is interesting with the wiggle at the base, I find they are diggable and available as they grow everywhere squirrels take the acorns. I also know that some of the guys in the Austin club have Quercus of a few types, so you might reach out to them too. As a matter of fun native to try and play with sure, but they are a long long long term project. They are unlikely to be a traditional “show” tree unless you find one in the wild that has been a survivor, and even then the leaves while a great fall color are just big… All that said I have a few Red Oaks of various sizes. Some from seed(acorn) and a couple that were trunk chopped from the wild and I’m trying to regrow. Hope that helps.

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