Timing For Yamadori Collection

I’ve tried digging up some plants in the past, and 2 small elms are the only one to survive so far. My mom has property with lots of short leaf pines, and I killed one I tried to dig up. I think because of timing and maybe accidentally bare routing it (the soil is a lot of clay). I’m in zone 6, when can i collect one of these one trees so it lives? Thanks

Fall at leaf drop is a good time or spring before they leaf out but when the buds are swollen are the top two times with highest chance of survival. I have actually never collected an elm, so that assumes they are not an outlier like oaks, hemlocks and the other few that require special consideration.

Collecting in the fall requires keeping it from freezing in my opinion.

Fall vs. spring also depends upon the soil moisture during the seasons. If you have a dry late summer / early fall then the tree may go dormant or be stressed in the fall. If you are dry and then generally get rain for a few weeks before things go dormant then the tree may go into a root growth mode which would be good for collection. In some places the snow is too deep in the spring to get access before the buds really start to push (an adaption to a short growing season) so fall is the only good time. I believe the timing of collection for some desert species is just after a good bit of rain since that is when they grow their near surface roots that die off in favor of the long, deep roots during the dry spells.

If you have access to the trees in multiple seasons (and can remember where they are!) it can be beneficial to use a spade to cut the roots that run a long way from the trunk. If you can only do one year then cut further out. If you can do two years then cut closer - 1/2 the first and the other half second.

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I do not have experience collecting pines,
but you can check Mauro Stemberger recomendations here:

on pines from minute 37,
also mentioning what he does when the root ball comes out of clay.

Hope it helps

I am a beginner so take this with a grain of salt…
I have collected at both times and I have had about 95% success after the required 2 years of hands off.

I don’t typically go straight into pumice, rather I use a spag peatmoss, perlite mix with a white cedar shaving mulch.

The ones that died went into a lava pumice mix but where also pushed to early as I didn’t wait the two years and I tried to use traditional fertilizers.

Now I basically leave them alone and the only nutrition comes from the soil and the use of Eden Blue Gold FXi ( aka fire extinguisher) Eden Blue Gold Hydro and Eden Blue Gold Garden and perhaps some Eden Blue Gold Super Carbs to feed the soil microbes

I apply it in a foliar spray for the most part and only root drench a few times a year

These are the results I got on a Eastern White Pine collected with mainly those big roots that you see, most of the fine root growth occurred in the 2 years after collecting.

With these products I root drench at 1 tsp per gallon
And I foliar spray at 1TBSP per gallon

I just repotted into lava, pumice and akadama this year so fingers crossed that they will continue to thrive.

Best of luck to you!


I actually have had less luck going into 100% pumice myself. I have wondered why this is and maybe the watering technique has to be immaculate…don’t know.

Do you have any promising strobus? I have transplanted over 200 (it’s how I got into bonsai) to restore the property I built. I have a few I have fooled around with but I don’t have anything I am excited about.

This is the one I’m most excited about. I think it’s doing well, so it’s up to me to not kill it

Would this time of year be too late to collect? There a a couple nice Cedar Elms I have access and permission to dig. I might have access to them next spring but not certain. (A family member rents the property but planning a move.)

Would the chances of survival drastically increase if I was to wait to sprint? I’ve read on other forums that elms can be collected pretty much any time but I’ve also read wait until just before buds push out.

I would go for it personally

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I definitely think watering is a issue as they re- established themselves and with work, life etc a few hours too long on a scorching hot day could push a stressed tree over the edge… Pumice without spag on top dries out fast on a hot sunny day.

I have nothing exceptional or even really beyond a beginners scope.
When I was younger and busy I had trees and lost a lot of them, over wintering in Northern Vermont can be a challenge so I gave it up.

Soil information here at that time was outdated, nothing was readily available and I lost trees that meant a lot to me, and had some monetary value based on my income at the time. One spring I gave everything away…

A few years ago I restarted my journey but have focused on soils, over wintering and nutrition.

If I can keep them alive, then perhaps they will turn into some decent trees.
There is absolutely no way I would spend $$$$$ on a tree again if I don’t have the knowledge to keep it alive.

I am sure most of my stuff would be passed by, by most people.
But they are green and happy and that works for me. My philosophy on life has changed with age.

Nursery stock and wild collecting are my main source of stock, sometimes I will buy a tree or two from a club member, if I can snag a deal on something they have lost interest in.

I look at these trees for sale that cost more then a car and wonder who really buys them… It will never be me, but to each their own

My main focus now is trying to figure out how to use the Eden line of products to enhance my garden, lawn and bonsai.
I discovered Eden on the internet and then found out that Mirai was also heading down a similar path.

Mirai has trees worth a lot of $$$$$$$$$ and their value is priceless so Apical testing is a no brainer.

But for me to spend $135 to test and get recs for a $25 piece of nursery stock doesn’t add up.

I would rather invest the money in Eden products and apply them and see the physical changes take place. Lets face it people have blindly applied less balanced nutrition for years and have gotten away with it for many years.

So in a few years perhaps I will test to see what the imbalances are.

I do see Apical is recommending Ferticell 10-0-0 on a lot of recs so there must be something behind the science of a separate nitrogen source but I have yet to find Ferticell available in a smaller quantity.

I really am stumped with Eastern White Pine, I love the way juvenile plants look in nature but of course mimicking that isn’t necessarily bonsai, lots of whorls, inverse taper, etc, straight trunks do occur often in this species

I have a few bent up with 6-8 mm wire to bend the trunks and time will tell how they end up.

Fortunately for me I am too new to be bound by any rules and I have no interest in shows, or anything of that nature.

It is just a tree in a pot.
Keep it happy, keep it healthy and enjoy it for what it is.

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