Improving the success rate of Yamadori

I have been using this technique now for over ten years and I have finally decided to share what I have learned. The technique is known as ‘sweating’ and is used extensively in arboretorial circles. I use for the following species: Cratageus, Prunus, and most of the Rosaceae family, do not use on evergreen species.

I collect trees with as much root as possible, but I have put roots on trees that have not had any.

Follow this procedure and your success rate in establishing your freshly collected yamadori will improve immeasurably.

  1. Collect as much root as possible
  2. Clear as much mountain soil but do not wash the roots
  3. Use the soil mix as shown below
  4. Clean cut the major roots as close to the trunk without spoiling the nebari
  5. Place the tree in the smallest container possible
  6. Ensure that the tree is well packed in the container
  7. Wire the tree securely in the pot
  8. Make sure that the cut branches are clean and NOT SEALED
  9. Saturate the soil
  10. Pile fresh sphagnum moss on the surface of the container
  11. Wrap the whole tree in a VERY large black plastic bag
  12. Place in a sunny position as the tree MUST GET HOT
  13. Humidity in the bag must be high at all times, mist spray daily
  14. After two or three weeks new buds will appear particularly around the cuts
  15. Ensure that they do not touch the sides of the bag.
  16. When the new shoots reach 5cm or 2” remove from the bag and protect from cold and wind, mist spray daily and keep out of direct sunlight.
  17. Keep watch for the new shoots hardening off, then you can feed with a very diluted solution; do not work the tree for the first 12 months.

Good luck, please do not copy these photos or the text, and share the link freely.

Removing the ‘Thing’ from The Hawthorn Raft

Over the last 18 months a rather large growth rapidly appeared on the lower right side of my Hawthorn Raft it was growing so large that the lower branch was being hidden and its movement lost look closely and you can see how fast it grew… cracking and swelling in all directions. It was changing the character and shifting the visual weight of the tree, it had to be stopped in its tracks and the growth suppressed.

Completely removing the bulge would leave a large scar and ‘dead’ area so careful consideration as to the final ‘image’ was critical. A Scar is inevitable as the bulge was so large, so I hollowed it out retaining the front but removing the lower part to expose the movement in the lower branch.

Using a fine ‘pull’ saw I made a horizontal cut towards the area where the growth started. Then using chisels cut away the bulk, refining using a Dremel and cutter.

The work was done in the fall so that no callusing will take place, in fact I would like a small amount of natural dieback, I will not be putting wound sealant on either to create a more ‘natural’ appearance.

Removing the flower buds on a White Pine


When I returned from the Czech Republic I saw that my Chuhin white pine had a huge amount of flowers, it was obvious the tree was healthy but there were so many that it would suffer if they were not removed, I mostly work with native European trees and my experience with imports is limited.

This from my good friend Mark Cooper on EBF:  “One has to be very careful and gentle when removing the juvenile flowers buds though so as not to lose any new candle buds.

Pinching out the buds one at a time

Pinching out the buds one at a time

However, if the new candle emerges on such a long “leg” due to an abundance of large flower buds beneath it (rendering it of no use), what we do is let the candle fully open and ripen and then cut that shoot (and most of the leg) off nearly back to last year’s growth, and hopefully some back budding may occur. This assumes that the tree is healthy, well fed and vigorous. Usually only one flush of growth happens in one year here… it’s primarily about directing/ controlling the tree’s energy to where you want it, and then about shape/ pad profile.

Taking care not to damage new needles

So in weak/ inner areas prune lightly (say 25% reduction) or not at all, and harder in stronger areas/ apex. One also has to keep in mind pad shape whilst candle pruning in refined trees too.”

I could not have put it better.

I estimate that I removed over 1500 buds from this little tree. The tree is strong and well fed and it will be kept in the greenhouse if the weather turns inclement. I will be removing the candles in a few weeks time to maintain the pad profile, and if we have a better summer than the last three hopefully new needle buds will show themselves.

the buds that have been removed

The buds that have been removed

Revolutionary methods for establishing newly collected 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!

New roots direct from the trunk

The white specks are the start of new roots, two weeks after this photo was take the roots were 2cm long!

A small section of the recently collected Prunus Spinosa and Crataegus, they are triving.

How I collect Yamadori Hawthorns

Here is a gallery of images from the last collecting trip to collect hawthorns. They are situated on a hillside surrounded by scrub and large trees. Finding them is not easy as they are the same colour as the rocks. One of the best aspects of this site is that most trees have one large tap root but many fine roots in the layer of soil above the rough stone. You can see the difference in the colour of the soil where the fine roots are. This creates a great nebari and once the tap root is cut off the tree can be place in a shallow container.