I sell a lot of native European Yamadori all of the trees are very old and of the best quality, trees that I would have in my own collection. I select trees on the hill that I believe will make great bonsai and leave those that have no or little potential. With every tree except pine I bare root, removing all the mountain soil and replace with my own mix suitable for growing new roots and establishing the tree in a pot. I also endeavour to plant the tree in the smallest container whilst still maintaining the future health of the tree. This makes transplanting to a bonsai pot a lot easier without the usual dangerous root ball reduction that sometimes takes place after establishing.
Usually the planting position in the ‘training’ pot is not the ‘finished’ angle or position that the tree will be styled, when purchasing I advise one ‘what’s happening below the soil level’ so that future ideas and possibilities can be explored with confidence.
When purchasing yamadori it is crucial to let the tree acclimatise to your local conditions, garden, weather, elevation etc. and not start work on the tree the moment you get it home.
These photos are from a Prunus Spinosa (Blackthorn) after two years in the pot. My student had this tree for 12 months prior to bringing the tree to be potted in the bonsai pot. It was full of new fine roots, the student had fed the tree well and did not cut back or ‘style’ the tree in any way. The tree responded well and when potted on into a Bonsai Pot retained a lot of new root. NO wiring of the branches too place only cutting back to two buds. The tree will deliver flowers and an abundance of new growth this season. Patience always pays off when working with yamadori.
I am working on some revolutionary methods for establishing newly collected Yamadori. I started back in November with five trees using different techniques, two failed but three have delivered spectacular results. Prunus Spinosa and Crataegus producing roots from the whole tree, these photos were taken in February. With this knowledge I set out and collected over 100 trees and these are now thriving. I am busy collecting Yews up to the end of April in the UK then over to mainland Europe for Pines and Picea. This year’s stock will be available for reserve for a deposit of 50% from Mid June onwards.
I have uploaded these photos in hi resolution so you can take a closer look if you ‘click’ on them!
When purchasing raw material Yamadori… that is trees that have been collected and are in the first container that they were established, many folk are concerned that the transition to a smaller container would be too traumatic an undertaking.
Timing, health and understanding the resilience of the species is essential when doing this work.
The example shown here is a yew tree that I am developing for David Carvalho from Portugal, the tree has been in its first container for three years and is ready to be moved to a much smaller ‘bonsai pot’ size container.
Checking the roots we see that it pot is full and there is Mycorrhiza present, good evidence of a healthy root system. The establishing planting medium is still very open and there are no ‘black’ roots to be seen.
On closer inspection a thick root needs to be shortened to enable the tree to fit into a smaller pot. The abundance of new fleshy root that is present closer to the tree enables me to make a big cut, the top of the root will need to be ‘carved’ to blend in the nebari, this will compliment the deadwood that will feature as part of the overall design.
The root ball is reduced with the fine roots being cut with very sharp sterilised scissors, the tree is tied into the container with wire and filled with my special soil mixture and left to grow for another season before any further work is done.