Whats in your bag for collecting yamadori

I have not done much collecting but curious of what everones tools are for collecting trees. I have assymbled what I think would be usefull so far, maybe I need more or less.

-Gorilla brand construction plastic bag- easy adjustable thick temporary container.
-roll of 4 inch strech wrap- to caress the delicate roots in the temporary container.
-small spade shovel.
-short garden trowel.
-folding saw for the big tap roots.
-bottle of water for dampening the roots.

I’m looking to get… trench shovel like this below. A13D_2

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In what environment are you planning to collect?
Different needs for mountain, prairie, bayou, rocky cliffs, stone quarry, or your neighbors farm. Either way you should pack an emergency kit for possible injury, and plenty of potable water to stay hydrated.
Good luck, and happy hunting!
May need permits if you are looking at public lands.


Where you are going will dictate what you need but for the most part I think you hit the main items. Depending on how long or how far you will be carrying you may need something wet to wrap around the roots inside the bag. I’ve used wet newspapers same as what Ryan did on the beech forest when preparing the roots the day before.


I would recommend hand shears, twine for tying up the branches to make collection and transport easier, and knee pads. A small hand held pickax can be a big help as well. Bill and Trent are right terrain will dictate a lot of what you can pack, but a big wheeled folding cart is always nice as well.


GPS receiver
Cell phone in water-proof pouch
Simple compass
Roll of fluorescent survey ribbon
Hip waders
Come-along cable winch
50’ 3/8" nylon rope
Sharp knife
Corona 18" pruning saw
DeWalt 20v reciprocating saw + spare battery
2 12" Diablo or Bosch reciprocating pruning blades
Holster for the saw and blades
First aid kit (see blades :face_with_raised_eyebrow: )
Water bottle
Contractor grade trash bags
Shappell Eagle Claw Jet Sled (54" x 25" x 10")

Back at the truck:
Gallon or two of water to clean up
Change of clothes


My bag…
Sharpshooter shovel
Hand Shears
Folding Saw
Small Pick-ax (Mattock)
Hand Trowel
Survey ribbon
Contractor Trash Bags
Plastic Grocery store Bags
Cellophane wrap
Duct Tape
H20 for me and tree
Small first aid kit and emergency rain poncho.
Folding Wagon when I can use it

@ the Truck
Cooler with H20, lunch, beer…always nice to be able to share a cold one should you have to repay the kindness of a landowner or a stranger, and to celebrate a safe dig.
It’s a good idea to make sure your gear is clean and has a good edge before you go, I carry a hand file with me as well
If you go alone, let someone know where and when you should be back. No one finds you if they don’t know to look.

I can pack all my gear in a backpack or a canvas grocery bag and hobo it over my shoulder with my shovel.


@Joe_Johanesen If you’re looking to buy a good shovel for collecting I really cannot recommend the Root Slayer enough. The edges of the shovel are serrated so that it literally cuts through roots, and the entire shovel is one solid piece of metal. It’s is coated with red plastic on the handle to make it nicer to use, but because it is one solid bar, you can use it as a really heavy duty pry bar for pulling that rootball out and you don’t have to worry about snapping your shovel in half. Only downsides are that it’s a bit heavy, and it’s not super tiny or foldable so it’s not the most portable. But for the time and sweat and frustration it saves me, I don’t mind carrying it.
The Root Slayer

Also in my bag would be a good pair of gloves, a cheap pruning saw that I don’t care about sawing in the ground with (though I’m probably going to buy a reciprocating saw in a couple weeks) a big pair of loppers, a nicer saw for the branches trunk etc. A misting bottle and heavy duty garbage bags for the rootball to go into.

One tip that has really helped me out with collecting, is to NOT cut the trunk of the tree until you already have the rootball freed from the ground. You can use the weight of the tree to help you pry up the rootball. #gamechanger


I make sure to tell my wife where I parked, and what region I’ll be searching. Then I text a couple of photos so she can use the geo-tagging in the photos. Not that she knows how to read the geo-tagging, but it’s a start.

Sweet Mother of God! That’s a vicious looking tool! I love it. I want it.

But I would never let anyone else use it.

“Hey, Bill, pull on the tree while I chop out the roots.”
“Yeah, no. I don’t f’n think so.”


Cargo backpack (hunters’ style, with a shelf and tie-down straps)
Small shovel
Pruning shears
Water jugs
Spray bottle
Hori hori knife (good for horizontal digging under root ball)
Reciprocating saw with long, flexible flush-cut blade
Hand saw
5 inch stretch wrap for root ball


For Tree Removal:

Felco Ergonomic Shears
Folding Pull Stroke Pruning Saw

Post Collection Root Ball Preparation:

a. Pre-cut moistened burlap various sizes
b. Pre-cut heavy-duty garbage bag squares, various sizes
Twine/Electrical Tape
Bubble Plastic for delicate branches or bark protection

Getting back to Truck:
Lopper if necessary to clear path [I often collect in Appalachian rocky areas that have Rhododendrons to get through]


Badlands BOS back pack [heavy duty and is really tough for tools etc]
ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Freighter Frame [for second person to carry out large trees]
Durable yet flexible gloves [2 pairs]

I learned from Randy Knight not to have too many tools, just the ones I mentioned and have had success, but of course I collect mostly from rocky areas and even deciduous species/Eastern Hemlock I try to get that have grown over rock/moss/soil as I find better trees with nice trunks and nebari/root flare that way. As Randy said one should be able to get in and get out with the tree with minimum time, too much time means greater root damage usually. One must adjust to the collecting conditions, soil etc so other tools like a good shovel/spade may be necessary.


Never thought of a Hori Hori Knife, thanks!

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