This was my first dig this year. I was so busy with other things that I could not make time to dig up trees. This tree has been in the back of my mind for a few years now. This tree was planted on the property where I work. Before we go into the detail of how this tree was unearthed let me just explain what #yamadori is. Yamadori is a Japanese word that can be translated to “collecting plants/trees from the mountain”. I do not speak Japanese so I got my translation from books and teh internet. In this instance I would call my dig a urban yamadori as I removed it from a garden and not the mountains. Collecting trees from the “wild” or someones garden can be a exciting and some what addictive.
What you need to know before digging up trees:
- If it grows next to the road, in someones garden or in a forest you need to get permission to remove it! In some cases you will need a permit.
- Trees will need a long time to recover before you can work on them.
- Not all trees can be removed the same. Some you can remove over time or others in one session.
- Get as much of the current soil with the roots.
- Plant the tree in a big container.
Tools you will need for the dig:
Note: Not all trees survive this process. So before you choose a tree make sure that the chances that the tree will survive are high and do everything you can to ensure the tree will make it. The tree has been growing in the wild for years fighting all the elements just so you can remove it and let it die. I don’t think so. Plan everything ahead and have a soil mixture and container ready so when you get home you can plant the tree. Please do not dig up all the tree you see that has the potential of being great bonsai. Think of the #sustainability of what you are doing to ensure that future generations have the same opportunity you had.
This tree is one of four trees that have been cut down to open up the view over the property. The trees have been cut down about three years ago when we moved to this new property. I thought that these trees were all dead until I walk pasted them earlier this week. There were a few places on the trunk were you can see new growth.
As you can see from the photo above I dug trenches right around the stump. This is the best way to get the tree out of the ground. It is real hard lifting a tree that has been in the ground for nearly 10 years judging by the width of the trunk. You need to dig a wide trench around the tree and go as deep as you can before you start digging towards the tree as you want to keep as much of the feeder roots as possible or in my case until it fulls with water.
It rained the day before I dug up this tree. The ground was nice and soft. I did not need to use the pick to loosen up the soil around the tree. I just had to put my foot down on the back of the spade and it slided through the soil like a hot knife through butter. It was one of the best digs ever. I have never dug up a tree in winter so I enjoyed the ease of almost just playing around in the mud.
That was until the trenches started to fill up with water….
This was the hole that was left after I removed the tree. It was a wet a messy business. I prefer digs when the soil is wet or in winter but this was a big challenge. Not only did the water fill the hole but it made it very difficult to remove the tree from the hole once it was free. The tree was stuck in the mud as I tried to pull the tree out. It felt as if the tree still had a root attached to it. I pulled and pulled but it just did not want to come out of the muddy mess. I then put a pole over the hole and got the tree out using the spade and pick as levers.
This is going to be a great tree. I have big plans for this tree. It is now in a large growing container and will stay in this container for the next few years.
Here is the tree in its container.
I used a soil mixture that included the following:
- Tree bark
- Small stones
- Bone meal
- Multicore slow release Fertilizer
This is all that will be done on this tree for now. It will now just be watered regularly to ensure that it does not dry out. When watering a tree like this you want the tree to be damp but not to wet as the roots with rot and die. The tree has under gone a great deal of stress and will take some time to recover. The tree had some of it roots removed so the tree will have to adjust to the new environment. If you see signs of growth do not be tempted to start working on the tree. Give it a few years to recover. After about two years you can prune back the tree as you do not want the foliage to grow to far from the base. This will also encourage back budding. Wait another few year and then only set the basic structure of the tree.
Creating bonsai from #yamadori takes time and can give you great results. Patients is the key to this process. When it gets to a point where you can style this tree. You will have to bare in mind that there might not be branches where you need them and you will have to #graft in branches or wait for branches to grow in. This method of creating #bonsai is a bit more advanced than creating trees from nursery stock and will take up more of your time. Think it through before you commit.
Hope you enjoyed reading the blog. Please feel free to leave your comments below.