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NEWBIE here... Canadian oak seeds

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Post  Poutinemaster Sun Dec 27, 2020 8:17 pm

First of all, greetings & happy Holidays!

So here we go... I'm totally new to bonsai trees. It is on my bucket list since a long time and Santa give this year a nice bonsai bowl (about 8 inch of diameter) and a tool kit, so with COVID also, I have more free time to start learning about growing a bonsai tree and taking care of it for many years to come.

I am in the western part of the province of Quebec, in the autumn, I picked up a few oak seeds in the forest and froze them for the last 8 week (approximately). I've read that first step is to simulate a winter season for the seeds and about 6-8 weeks are enough for that. I've also read that we can make a bonsai tree from from a very large range of tree seeds.

- I would like to know please how good idea it is to create a bonsai tree from an oak tree seed (eastern canadian one)? I guess it is important to mention that I want to keep the tree inside our home and would like to make sure that the tree will have leaves all year long.

- Basically, for the first two years, I just let it grow by itself in a pot, without doing anything to it? Indoor I assume?

Or should I maybe get some exotic seeds?

Many thanks!


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Post  Oswiu Sun Dec 27, 2020 9:57 pm

I don't want to discourage you but...

Most/all trees that grow in Canada will need to stay outside all year. They need to experience winter because they have a cold requirement in order to come out of hibernation. If they don't experience winter they will die. There are some posts in this forum showing winter care.

Starting a tree from seed will take many years, probably decades with most of that time growing in the ground.

Also, in order to create a large trunk, the tree needs to grow in the ground.

It would be quicker if you bought, dug up or air layered a tree. There are many youtube videos which you can watch in order to learn.


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Post  Marty Weiser Mon Dec 28, 2020 2:02 am

On the other hand, growing bonsai from seed can be very rewarding since you get to see the development of the tree from a sprout and guide it along the path. However, as Oswiu commented it is a long term process, typically 5-10 years to get something that resembles a bonsai, and most often decades to become a very good bonsai. I recall reading about the elderly founder of a Japanese nursery whose grandson was running the nursery being asked why he was planting seeds - his response was so my great-great-grandchildren will have trees to create good bonsai. Any trees that are hardy in your area will need to spend the winter outside, but with protection since they are in pots rather than the ground. The easiest will be to put the pots in the ground in a spot that is sheltered from the wind and bury them in snow (light fluffy rather than cement to avoid breaking branches).

Oaks are slow growing and slow to develop as bonsai (I currently have 3 year old English Oak, 2 year old Garry Oak, and Gambel Oak seed to plant so don't give up). You might want to look into some of the other native trees or trees that are sold for landscaping. Maples (Acer) tend to grow fairly fast and are fairly easy to train as bonsai. If you happen to be be in southern Quebec can have Red Maple (Acer. rubrum), I strongly recommend that. Many pines, spruce, and fir are also hardy in your area and can be good candidates. I would avoid paper birch as it tends to be short lived, but if readily available to dig it could be fun to use as a learning tool.


Marty Weiser

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