Air Layer as Yamadori Collection Technique

Hi there, this is my first post on the forum, thank you in advance for your input. I live in western Washington and am new to Yamadori. Up at higher elevation I found an Alpine Fir I would love to collect, but there are two major exposed roots going straight into the rock. There seems to be a good root mass in the back of the tree, but rather than cutting those roots, I’m wondering if I can air layer these exposed roots to give this tree the best chance of success post collection. I’ve included some photos for reference. Also, please share any other noteworthy comments on the collection of this species of you can. Thank you!



Hmmmmm. Your chances are slim I’d say and here’s why.

Evergreen air-layer success depends on having a growing branch BELOW the air-layer site to supply the roots with resources. Since there are none here, the attempt will fail.

Never give up searching! You will find a better collection candidate.


@Alex_B You can actually try cutting that root on the left leaving a gap between the cut and pile up mulch all around it. Check the cut site in the spring when the buds are swelling to see if there has been root growth. You might have to give the tree a whole season to grow enough sustainable roots and collect it in 2021. :+1:t2::evergreen_tree::metal:t2::grinning:

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Alex, I have to agree with @andy2sheds. While this is no doubt an interesting tree , I fear that any collection attempt would be in vain. I would encourage you to find a more suitable candidate for collection. Looking at the erosion in the photos and the roots that have grown to anchor the tree from such, makes me think that the root mass will be further back, and down that you might anticipate. Happy hunting. Bonsai On!

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You could air layer up here and still get a fairly decent tree out if it.

The lower branches will keep the roots fed

Thank you! Much appreciate the feedback, it’s always better to be cautious than aggressive…

Interesting idea, I hadn’t thought of that. Now that I think about it, the main feature to highlight on this tree is actually the apex as it has lots of twisting branches and small, ramified pads that could be accented even more with a shorter overall height… Plus, I was also wondering what I would do with that long branch going to the left right below your red line. I found this tree up at a spot my family likes to collect our annual Christmas Tree every year and will be back up in the next couple of weeks anyways so I’ll have to look at it more with this idea in mind… Thanks for the great idea!

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When you do the air layer, do it at a diagonal to get a nice flared base rather than straight across.

Re the other branch, you could try and twist it up, and then air layer it off the year after to get a smaller tree?

Why don’t you contact Randy Knight and ask his advice? His contact details are on the live stream he did with Ryan. If he says it’s a no go then that pretty much seals it…

I’m with @andy2sheds, leave it and keep looking, you’ll find something better and be happy you passed on this one.

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I am GROOOOT! sorry, couldn’t help it.