Bald Cypress Yamadori Aftercare

I’m sure this has been beaten to death on forums across the web, but I can’t find anything that really satisfies my concerns.

I recently dug up a nice bald cypress, recently as in 3 days ago. It was completely dormant, had dropped most of its needles, and what was left was brown and crispy. I couldn’t manage to get a lot of feeder roots, let alone a rootball, as the thing was a taproot masterpiece. I believe I got enough for it to have a good shot however.

My question lies in aftercare. Aside from keeping it nice and moist and just leaving it alone, are there anything’s I can do to increase its chances and health?

I pruned off unnecessary branches and chopped the trunk. I have it in a make shift Anderson flat, basically a 2x2 grow box with 1/4" hardware cloth (wire mesh) for the bottom. Soil consists of nursery soil, perlite, and a good deal of pine fines.

I’m in 9b, Southwest Florida.



I am going to be using the “Black Bag Method” with my deciduous collections this year. The basic steps are: Collect tree. Soak in water overnight. Put in container with pumice (or soil medium of your choice). Water in container. Cover in black trash bag, and tape closed the bottom to the container. Wait. Check in 60/90 days for new buds/growth. As leaves emerge swap black bag for clear bag. 2/3 weeks later start poking holes in bag. Once new growth is more established remove bag completely. Transition to the new world. Partial shade for a bit, and then into the garden.

The black bag needs to be a cheap variety that lets some daylight through and in hot weather will need misting frequently.

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What about watering? I understand the method, creating a greenhouse more or less, but the bottom of my grow box is extremely porous. Should it be “sealed” or just hanging on there, so I can easily remove to water and/or mist?

BC can basically be flat-cut and survive. They’ll create new roots, but I’m not sure about while it’s dormant. You live in a relatively warm area though. If you can I’d perhaps swap out the soil for 100% pumice. Maybe 3:1 pumice to organic particle of some sort. Lastly, put it on a heat bed if you can set to 80*F. This is what I use. I collected a sea myrtle on Nov 8th and just a couple of days ago it pushed new buds.


I figured the organic would be a much better option for moisture retention since BCs like wet feet. Do you think that making the swap is extremely important? It would take a lot of pumice to fill the 2x2 training box I made for it. I just bought 7.5 gallons of pumice for a multiple juniper collection I’m planning for next week, and my wife may kill me if I spend anymore money on trees at the moment. However, if it’s gonna make a huge difference, so be it! I’ll look into the heating pad. That won’t interfere with dormancy?

There is no pumice available to me locally. Where do you source yours from? I get mine from Bonsai Jack and seems to be the best bang for the buck I can find, with free shipping, but still not the cheapest thing in the world!

You don’t want an anaerobic environment when trying to develop new roots. Ryan often mentions that just because BC can grow in a swamp that doesn’t mean that the same goes in a bonsai container.

My success rate went way up when I switched to 100% pumice. I keep a lot on hand because it does take a lot and I never know when I’m gonna collect something. This is the most reasonable price I’ve been able to find. I live in a humid area, so 100% works well for me. If you live in a drier area then some organic may be called for. I use sifted pine bark soil amendment as an organic.

You shouldn’t need to water much if any with this method. The idea is that once you have soaked the tree and then watered it into your container the water needs will be met by the “greenhouse” recycling water. A lot of collected material drowns. I have been guilty of that.

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I had to decide to pay $3.50 for 5+ gallons of bulk pumice or $5.50 for the screened which had a higher fraction that I could use. My local source gets the pumice from Concentrates Inc. in Portland, OR (their source is wholesale only). They only ship larger quantities by common carrier (i.e. pallet load via truck), but have quite a few distributors in the USA. OK most, of them are in the west, but a few are east of the Rockies.

Perhaps this is a business opportunity? I can buy 2 bags (10+ gallons) for <$15, ship to the east coast via UPS for $22, and charge less than Amazon. May have to wait until I retire in June.


Sign me up for some of that!

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I’d be willing to be your test pilot, but I think you need to work out any kinks before June. I’ll let you use me as a guinea pig!! At that price, sign me up for 20gal screened!

@moon , I understood it that it needs to be misted everyday during hot weather. That’s what Harry Harrington and Tony Tickle do to theirs.

@Keith-in-UK I hadn’t heard that. What is hot I wonder? I will have to go back and listen to Tony and Harry, obviously I would want to copy what it is they are doing. My method is coming from Mauro, but I may have missed something, or a detail may have been lost in translation. Thanks.

@moon , it may be he has developed a different technique. If he has let us know. I love to try new things out. Or it may be like asking two gardeners the same question and it is guaranteed you’ll get two different answers, with both saying theirs is the best method.

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@Keith-in-UK Agreed. I’ll re listen and see if I missed something. I recently heard Tony say in a pod cast if you ask 3 bonsai guys a question you will get five answers and I spit out my coffee!


Troy - What is your zip code? - Marty

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@moon @Keith-in-UK —I’d never heard of the black bag technique until I read this thread. Just this week I used it with a collected cedar elm. I asked Ryan about it in this week’s Forum Q+A, let’s see what he says.

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I wrote a blog post about this technique, not that it will be more informative than what Ryan will provide, but it comes from the nursery industry and is used for trees that have a hard time breaking dormancy when transplanted (or bare rooted and shipped). I’m curious to see what he says about it.


Do you think then my climate is too warm for a black bag? I’m near Austin, TX—temps in the high 70s this week.