Thread: Live oak seedlings were delivered "topped"...how do I select a leader?

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  1. #1

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    Live oak seedlings were delivered "topped"...how do I select a leader?

    I planted my arbor day live oak seedlings last fall. They have done well but most were topped without a clear leader when delievered. The small amont of new growth has been on side branches with none looking like new leaders. I have included a picture of one as an example.

    Do I wait a couple of years and expect a leader to develop?
    Do I begin to prune or work with a side branch to develop it into a leader?

    I had about a 10 year old tree topped by a falling limb and I was able to "train" one of the side branches as a new leader by wiring it straight up and it is doing well with the new leader after about 3 years.

    Thanks-*-Roy
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Oak Quirky Quercus's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
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    Georgia
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    Live Oaks have what is known as a decurrent growth habit. In other words, they don't have a central leader.
    Just let them do their thing. As they grow, remove the lower branches from the trunk as needed for clearance.

    No need to wire or train the tree to do something it was never meant to do.
    Last edited by Quirky Quercus; 08-09-2012 at 02:12 PM.

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