American Beech Monster Yamadori

Hey everyone,
So 3 days, a few ripped blisters and some very sore muscles later I managed to pull this giant beech out of the front yard of my friends house. First off, holy moly that wood was extremely dense! It was obviously a pretty severe root cut but I managed to save a somewhat decent amount of dirt and roots directly under the trunk. It has a copious amount of buds so it seems about as healthy as it could be. I have plans in the future to recut the trunk chop at an angle and hollow out a portion that is outlined by some natural deadwood that goes down the trunk. I think it could be a pretty powerful composition. But first, I need this thing to survive! Any advice would be appreciated. I’m particularly interested to see what everyone’s opinion is on whether I should tent it or not, as well as if I should reduce any of the smaller insignificant branching prior to bud push to limit the amount of foliage the tree has to support. Thanks in advance!!


It IS a monster! Hope it survives for you, what substrate did you use? I have tended towards pure pumice over the years. I’ve never tented any of the deciduous trees I collected, the only tree I wish I had was a Yew of about this size and root mass, whic pushed buds then slowly failed. Wish I was experienced enough to offer advice with certainty.

I used coarse perlite for this one. I had it laying around from a past project. I’m going on a larch/spruce collecting trip this spring and have a bunch of volcanite pumice lined up for them. Just need to screen out the fines. I had a hemlock that I collected last year that I also wish I had tented, the exact same thing happened. From what I’ve read, deciduous are somewhat more forgiving when it comes to root pruning. So I’m crossing my fingers that what I was able to preserve was enough.

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Harry Harrington advises on putting the whole thing in a big plastic bag to increase the moisture level. In addition he has his collected trees in a polytunnel for the same reason.


I’ve watched a few of his videos and noticed that. I’m leaning towards trying it. I’ve asked around on a few forums and have gotten mixed answers. Hard to know what to listen to sometimes haha.

That looks like it has a very nice root flair.
I’d drill some holes in that container. It (the container) looks too big for the root mass.
Drainage is important.
I wouldn’t reduce any branches/buds; the foliage mass doesn’t look heavy at all.
If you’re in Maine it can still get quite cold, so you might want to keep it from freezing.
From personal experience, root reduction on Beech is a somewhat different animal
from other deciduous trees, i.e. tread carefully. If you get it through the summer it should survive.
Good luck!

Hey Bill, I had drilled a ton of big drainage holes so I think it should be set on that. Got it onto a heat mat to warm up the roots a few degrees too. I’ve been keeping an eye on the temps for sure, I’ll have to shuffle a few of my trees if it gets too cold again, I’m ready for spring! Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.

Just a quick update. It seems so far, so good. It’s pushing growth vigorously so I’m pretty happy!


Cheers MaineBonsai,

I am about to collect quite a bigger beech this spring so I was curious if this one is alive and if you have any updates on recommended procedure according to your experience :slight_smile:


Unfortunately it did not make it. Theres a few things I wouldve done differently if I did it again. I wouldve waited another few weeks before digging it out, I think it was a little too cold. I would have dug the root ball much larger and kept as much as I could handle. And I would have tented or greenhoused the tree for the first few months and kept the humidity high to help reduce transpiration. I was pretty disappointed when the healthy leaves slowly all shriveled up :confounded:

That’s interesting. It looks like it was healthy in May.

I know! It looked great then slowly leaves started dessicating and it eventually died. I hang out with a retired bonsai professional who thinks it may have just been pushing its last bit of energy but didn’t have enough root to support itself. Definitely will focus on keeping more roots next time. Fortunately I collected another large beech that has a more interesting trunk that thrived this year!


Nice! Live and learn I guess. I have a couple of yamadori that pushed a nice initial flush and then paused for most of the year. Started pushing again later. Must have needed to establish more roots. Plant’s gonna plant lol.

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I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. But yes, definitely a learning experience. One of the biggest being one should follow your instincts over taking others advice lol. I’m eyeing up some monster common juniper and white birch along an electric company corridor this spring so I’m hoping it goes well :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:.

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Ha, nice. I recently took my boys Yamadori hunting along a nearby electric company corridor. Sadly nothing too interesting. :frowning:

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