Oak trees growing in the ground

I have some oak trees that have been growing in the ground for quite sometime now and I would like to lift them out and put them in a bonsai training plastic pot.
should I defoiliate first before digging them out ?
see attached pics

Hi Art - great to hear from you! I’m not sure which approach is best but I’m hoping to have a data point soon.

A friend just dug up several cork oak for me and we left the leaves on. (They look pretty similar to the tree in the first photo you posted.) He said that sometimes the leaves all drop when the trees are dug but that they usually leaf out again. After two weeks, I have three trees that look great and one that has somewhat yellow leaves, though that specimen was weak to start with.

I think success depends on the character of the roots when the trees are dug. If there are few to no fine roots, that will be really stressful for the tree, with or without leaves.

Will be curious to hear if others have experience with digging oaks.

thanks Jonas ! I will be lifting out these oaks within the next 2 weeks. looks like we are having an early spring again here in Vancouver. WA.

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here’s a couple pics of two of the oaks in their plastic training pots after lifting from the ground. these were grown as seedlings planted more than 10 years ago. boon mix is used.
wish me luck !

Wow, these looks great! Fingers crossed :slight_smile:

The trick now is to not keep them too wet. Overhead water is fine.

How did these turn out?? They look great!

hello Orion… only one tree survived and I have an oregon oak to lift out of the ground next spring… thanks for asking !

Very nice! I have some oaks in the ground as well I just collected this year, not nearly as thick as those though,.