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English Oak in a small garden

I used to have a mighty old English Oak in my garden in Wokingham. It grew in the northern corner of the garden and gave shelter from summer heat or rain. When I had to move back to Germany I knew I would really miss it. But when I unpacked my garden pots and plants in Germany, I noticed that one little  acorn had started sprouting in one of my flower pots. It must just have sneaked in. So I decided to let it grow. One year later it was still doing well, so I decided to plant it into my new garden in Dietzenbach near Frankfurt. The little tree is almost 5 ft now and I am starting to realize it might not have been such a good idea to plant it. Germany is different to the UK. There are a lot of rules and regulations for gardens and how far away from the neighbour border a tree should be planted. Even though the garden is not smaller than the one in UK, I am worried now that the tree will be too big in 20 years time.

So could anyone advise me how I can prune this plant in young years so it doesn't grow too tall? It sounds somehow cruel and I don't really like the idea of crippling it. But if I don't do anything now I might have to take it down one day. 


  • Hi Philippa

    many thanks for your comment. Unfortunately I had planted the oak into the ground already two years ago. I am not sure if I could/should dig it out again and move it into a large pot. Would it survive it?

  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,409

    When we moved here 30 years ago I dug up and moved a young oak tree that had grown at the front of what was to be a border. It survived and is now becoming a lovely tree, with a somewhat quirky shape that is full of character. It was probably a year or two older than yours, so I think that if you do it when the tree is dormant and put it in a suitably large pot it should be possible.

    You could trim back some of the longest thickest roots and treat it as a rather large bonsai - some info here:

    If you did that you could allow it to develop some character, though you might need help with lifting/ repotting!

    Last edited: 26 June 2017 10:29:22

  • BobFlannigonBobFlannigon Posts: 619

    Two years is along time, you might get away with it if you do it when it's dormant and are very careful.  Are you unwilling or unable to keep it at a certain size?

    May I suggest that you go and find out exactly what the rules are though, they may have something that states once it's been there a certain amount of time and no-one has complained that they can't do much about it.

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