Coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia)

Coast live oak is ubiquitous in the canyons and foothills of southern California, providing food (acorns) and habitat for wildlife. In nature oaks often take a “fountain” formation, with main branches emerging upwards from the trunk and then bending downwards at the branch ends. That is the ultimate design goal for this tree, although it isn’t there yet.

The tree was purchased as a pre-bonsai from Kuma Bonsai nursery in San Diego in 2013. New growth was insufficiently pruned in the first years after purchase and it was very spindly until spring in 2016, when it was pruned back hard. I nearly lost it after a hard root-pruning in winter 2018 but it recovered and is currently scheduled for more branch pruning and wiring in spring 2019.

Jan 1, 2019:
The tree today

February 23, 2013:
The tree as bought from Kuma Bonsai, San Diego

February 24, 2013:
Repotted into a clay pot

August 24, 2013:
Spindly branches after a summer growing season

January 20, 2014:
Barerooted and repotted

January 20, 2014:
The tree in a new pot

July 19, 2014:
Very spindly early summer

March 21, 2015:
Spindly with new growth

March 21, 2015:
Pruned back

August 1, 2015:
Abundant summer growth

October 28, 2015
Pruned, still spindly

April 9, 2016:
Springtime pruning, new growth

February 11, 2017:
Bare rooted, tap root pruned

February 11, 2017:
Tree in pot

April 24, 2017:
New growth

September 15, 2017:
Abundant new growth

January 6, 2018:
Root mass exposed, mycorrhizae visible

January 6, 2018:
Bare-rooted in new pot (this is the repotting that eventually caused a near-death experience for the tree)

January 6, 2018:
Newly potted

March 3, 2018
Two months after root pruning, some dieback, leaf fading

July 4, 2018:
Deterioration since January root pruning

October 26, 2018:
Recovery, new growth (view from back of tree). The Lazarus oak!

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