Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Make a Bonsai Oak Tree


Oaks grow in a variety of light, ranging from partial shade to full sun.

Re-pot the Bonsai once every two or three years. If you are working to maintain a small tree, remove the tree from the pot and trim back the roots to maintain its small stature.

Many oak trees grow leaves later than other trees, often in mid to late May.


Do not overwater or underwater your tree; both can be bad for a Bonsai. Trust the pan technique for watering.

Don't prune after the tree has budded; wait until winter to remove the undesired growth for optimal tree health.

Oaks can be an excellent choice for a first Bonsai tree. Oaks are resistant to insects and diseases and many will produce miniature fruit and acorns. Although they prefer moist soil, they can tolerate a range of soil moistures and a range of climates and temperatures. Mature Bonsai oaks, ranging from three to 15 years old, are among the most spectacular Bonsai specimens around.

Remove the tree from the gallon container. This is best done in the early spring before the tree has formed buds and shoots.

Look at the tree from different angles to decide the initial shape of the Bonsai tree. Remember that you are trying to re-create the look and feel of a mature oak in miniature.

Prune away the branches near the base of the tree to form a trunk. For larger branches use pruning shears. If the branches are small, sharp scissors will work well.

Clip the roots to a size that will fit well in the Bonsai pot. The pot should be a bit bigger than the overall canopy of the tree.

Place the tree in the pot and align the trunk as desired. The trunks of many beautiful oak Bonsai trees are straight up and down, while others are askew and wire is used to train the trunk to grow in beautiful curved forms.

Fill in the areas between the roots and pot with potting soil. Pack the soil gently.

Place rocks or moss over the soil, if desired.

Soak the potted Bonsai in water for ten minutes. Oaks like a lot of water.

Fill the watering tray with water and place the pot in the tray. Placing a Bonsai in a tray with water will ensure that the soil won't dry out. As the soil in the pot dries, it will wick water up from the tray.

Refill the tray with water as necessary. Oaks are fairly hardy, but will grow better with adequate water.

Prune your oak in winter or early spring, before the buds and new growth have begun. Deadwood can be removed at any time.

Garden Guides