Yamadori First Styling

I’ve been trying to find out how long to wait before I do any pruning or styling on Yamadori. If the trees were collected last year is it suggested to wait one or two winters before any work is done? I dont seem to be able to find any info on it.

Which species, is it a true wild collected yamadori and what is the estimated age? What severity of styling do you think about?

They are both Yamadori from the mountains. One is a lodgepole pine and the other is an alpine fir. I’d imagine both to be around the 8 or 10 years old. I’m in Montana so they are healed in at the moment and the snow has just receded from them. I collected them last year and would like to do a bit of trimming and styling but thinking about letting them go another year first. I’m not planning on any extreme styling.

A good guide is to do mild styling after they get some decent growth. Do major styling after they get strong growth. A maple or elm with good roots might be ready in the first fall after collection (although that would be rare). A mountain pine or juniper might take 5 years or more to recover enough to be styled. It will also depend upon your growing conditions - optimal climate for the tree will be faster. If in doubt about the strength of the tree - wait - bonsai is a long game. I speak from experience - mostly bad.


Ryan always says hands off for at least two years. Then if you see the tree exploding with fresh new growth in the spring of the second year it means it is ready for some work.


Agree that strong growth is the best indication. When you say last year was that end of last year or beginning? As it is more about growing seasons than winters.

If it was early last year I would style after the summer (when the tree has shown good vigour). If it was end of last year I would wait for two growing seasons.

I’m def gonna play it safe and let them get healthy before I touch them. Enduring Montanas winter is already a big enough challenge for them on their first year out of the mountains. Thanks for all the confirming advice everyone!

I’m pumped to see their first buds and candles start up after they’re first winter being healed in.