Gardendori - Urban Yamadori

Hey there!

Spring is here and with it time to work in the garden, not only for us but also for any folk with a garden. Now, this open us a world of possibilities to collect trees from people who want to get rid of them. In many cases old, damaged, overgrown trees and bushes are offered for free for whoever takes the time to go and dig them up.

Do you have experience with this practice? Last year I collected this two huge Dwarf Alberta Spruces that way.

This year I find lots and lots of Thujas, but very big and with no leafs or branches in the lower part of the trunk. Do you know if Thuja will back bud when trunk chopped?


Thuja to my knowledge doesn’t back-bud.

Taxus is an interesting species as from the coniferous trees I know they are the best backbudders (like Bald Cypress I think).

30 cm base garden rescue Taxus baccata


Hey Robert,

Awesome! This Taxus looks great! I actually have 2 of them in my own property waiting to be collect. Do you have any tip for successful collection? I bet this one in your picture had very thick roots, right? I saw in one video from Greenwood Bonsai (Youtube channel) that you should report Taxus almost in summer. What is your experience?

1 Like

Actually they often ground layer so there is a rather extensive rootsystem that can be cut back hard. Although probably it is not a good idea to do a hard cut back on branches and roots in the same year (although all we dug up survived exactly that). If they are in your garden I would prune back first wait for vigorous regrowth and than dig up. We have done most root work in late winter early spring. Ryan recommend rootwork / repotting for most elongated species when buds start to push.

They are tough. Work done last week buds are pushing.

1 Like

Well, I cut them back 2 years ago and now are very fluffy, you cant see the trunk anymore. I will send a picture as I arrive home and address if I am still on time to collect them.
I see you have washed the roots, are they that tough?

I did it last year with two other trees, both survived although one struggled with reduced elongation but I expect it to be vigorous this year and the other one didn’t skip a beat. This is our fifth and al suffered from being our first collected trees so I would say they are tough.

To clarify the trees spend 2 or 3 years in boxes and large containers to recover from being collected after which they were bare rooted and fully transitioned to bonsai soil. Not something I would recommend with other coniferous trees.

Oh! I see, thanks for the clarification.
Yesterday I didn’t have time to make a picture of them because I went to collect a boxwood from another garden. :upside_down_face:
I don’t know why, but I have the feeling that these boxwoods are very strong, anyway I will navigate the forum and library for information about them.
I will share some pictures this afternoon.

In my experience boxwood tolerates repotting very well due to their compact root system. But that is garden experience not bonsai.

This is the Taxus I trunk chopped last year. It went crazy and now it has foliage all over the trunk.
I think I may clean it up and select some branches as well as prune the biggest roots and let it grow one more year where it is.


Also, here is the boxwood I collected last week.
It may do a nice clump stile tree one day.

1 Like