When should I dig up an Oak?

I have been manicuring this Oak in the ground for a couple years. I would like to move it into a training pot. When should I do this?

Well I’m not sure where you are located but it would probably correlate with repotting season . Probably better to go into a box until It recovers from the move rater than right into a pot. But definitely ask a better expert than me lol .

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darned good point about where I might be! I will edit that. I’m in Oregon about 55 miles SE of Mirai HQ

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One thing I have started to test is to prepare an oak in advance through an airlayer at the base of the main trunk (right below the ground level)
I did this last May. Tree has been collected early this January.
It produced a huge amount of roots. Actually I had used a textile fiber for the airlayer wrap and roots came out of the wrap very dense and tight. I managed to collect all of them intact. The tree is still dormant for now.
I will be happy to tell you that it actually works but I need to wait and see evolution, it is the first time I do it, but I was surprised about the quantity of new roots just in ±6 months.
For me it make sense to cut the apical root taking a big amount of new fine roots just at the place I want. Tree size is around the same as in your picture.

Perhaps you want to try this or a different kind of preparation in advance.

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This sounds like a great way to monitor root health on trees I want to dig up. I hope you have success and keep us in the loop with this tree’s progress!

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Airlayering just below the surface as suggested is worth it especially with oaks root system is like a turnup typically coming out of the ground

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I would wait another month or two in your location, get as close to bud swell as possible but before they open. Oaks in the northeast where I am push later, they don’t chance a late hard frost and dieback. It might be worth getting a cheap heat mat since you already invested some time and love in this tree.

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I like to lift Oak’s from my growing beds in my garden once the buds are swelling. (energy in the branch tips not the roots) to try and preserve as much energy in the tree. I would then only prune thick roots and would not bear root, as there is some microrizal association like pines. By waiting till later in the year it is generally warmer, so less chance of a cold snap that seriously inhibits the damage repair and recovery from lifting. I would also put it in a sheltered position to reduce stress (over heating in the sun, wind drying, bla bla bla…)

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I’ve collected coastal oaks in Southern California through January. A deciduous oak, I would wait a bit later for big fat bud swell. I’m going to try later summer collecting too for oaks. They take a break in the heat of summer and then start growing again in fall for vascular growth. With a full canopy, and stored energy would help regenerate roots too, but I haven’t tried summer time of year yet. I think if I did a late summer early fall collect I would heat bed it.

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