Yamadori: Collecting Wild Bonsais

Have you ever been perplexed by the fact that some people seemed to have the most beautiful and oldest bonsai?

Frequently, the explanation is that they let nature do the heavy lifting. These trees thrived wild for many years, perhaps over a century, before becoming bonsai trees. 

A tree that has this kind of history is referred to as “Yamadori.” 

What is Yamadori?

Yamadori literally translates to “plant gathering in the mountains,” but it can also imply “plant picking in the wild.” Though some bonsai trees are grown from seeds while others are grown from cuttings, they were also obtained from nature at the beginning. Collection was the old-school manner of doing things, whether as a sapling or as a natively stunted tree in a bad spot.

It is difficult to find bonsai trees in the wild. The transplanted tree may struggle to survive, depending on the circumstances. Digging up trees is also a major pain in the neck. It is, however, a real blast and a great experience. You are practically saving a tree from a harsh background and caring for it for the rest of its lifetime.

What Makes It Different?

Because of its distinctive qualities, Yamadori is the most sought-after bonsai. The plant’s unique shape and lines tell a unique story that can’t be found in a nursery. The gnarled and twisted trunks and branches of each plant can only be sculpted by time and nature.

Yamadori trees are not found everywhere in the wild. Nature’s “battle scars” characterize the plant’s beauty, and the broken and twisted shape embodies individuality. It is a relatively small plant that grows deformed due to a combination of variables, including harsh weather conditions, poor soil properties, wind, abrasive sand, and grazing animals.

Finding Yamadori in public settings is such a challenging undertaking and should be done only by experienced bonsai enthusiasts who are environmentally conscious.

Yamadori as a Product of Nature’s Creativity

Nature’s creation knows no limitations, and it delights us with magnificent plants. Trees that inform us about their interesting lives. They explain how, despite difficulty, they were able to achieve a remarkable and calm beauty.

These products of nature’s creativity also reveal things about us: our role in nature and our connection with time, as well as our duties to the planet’s preservation. By comparison, our imagination is only a blip on the radar. We do not have the same amount of time or creativity as they do.

Yamadori Bonsai Trees are Rare and Precious

Getting a Yamadori and then turning it into a Bonsai entails humble dedication to the tree and enhancing nature’s ingenuity. We can never possess a Yamadori; we are owned by them. 

Where Do We Find Them?

Unique trees that have survived years of drought and extreme temperature swings may be found in desert environments. Mountainous areas subject trees to some of the worst weather conditions, resulting in a large number of prospective Yamadori bonsai trees.

Wind and snow can also cause twists and curves, as well as dead branches and a tortured appearance. Another benefit of tree collection is that no two are alike.

Pointers for Collecting Yamadori

  1. Aspiring bonsai gardeners can start or expand their collection by digging up a natural plant or tree. Growers should remove the plants early in the spring and provide a large portion of the plant’s soil while employing this procedure. They would be able to keep the tree or plant from falling into shock if the natural soil was included in the collection.
  2. Then, the tree has to be relocated as soon as possible. When harvesting trees from the wild, it takes time for them to recuperate. It could take several seasons for transplanted trees to fully recover. Because of this, only bonsai gardeners with the proper experience and time should attempt to create a bonsai tree from nature.
  3. Obtaining the property owner’s consent is also one of the most basic and important things you should never forget. Of course, in searching for prospective areas, high places provide more opportunities for achievement, but they are also more difficult to manage. The lower areas have a lot more variety. You may easily spot a pre-bonsai underneath a tree or in a certain spot that is visible to the naked eye.
  4. If you do not know if an outdoor species with bonsai potential thrives in your chosen place before you dig it up, it will definitely be pointless. Hence, research is important. It is required to analyze the roots in order to ascertain this. To dig up a firm root-ball, the roots must be as compact as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
  5. Bring appropriate equipment for the gathering location. Choosing to collect in a certain location is not the same for everyone. For longer travels, a backpack with an aluminum frame that can hold larger trees is advised.
  6. With a spade and/or pick, slowly dig around the tree, being cautious not to harm its root system. Obtain as many fine fibrous roots as possible. The more roots you can save, the higher the tree’s chances of survival are. Take the tree and its roots out of the hole. Then burlap the root ball and tie it down securely. Thoroughly water the root ball.
  7. In general, do not trim the trees until you are ready to put them up in their pots during the spring. Remember to keep the branches and needles intact when digging up. Long branches can be pruned away a year later. It might die if you remove those branches too soon.

Caring for a Yamadori

The key to dealing with Yamadori is the ability to check the tree and determine when it is safe to proceed. If you prune it too soon, it will die or be held back for years. If there is no second break or extension of growth, that’s a solid sign that your Yamadori is suffering from a lack of energy and roots. 

If that happens, keep the pot outside, away from direct sunlight and damp but not wet. Allow the tree to rest until the following spring, when it can be styled or repotted for the first time. During the first summer, small amounts of fertilizer can be utilized.

Keep These Things in Mind!

  • Before collecting, examine the plant or tree.
  • Immediately plant the tree.
  • Examine the roots, bark, and leaves carefully.
  • Gather young trees with a lot of branches.
  • Wait patiently.

Getting Yamadori bonsai to live and finally make them look amazingly healthy takes a lot of effort, knowledge, and talent. Educate yourself first, whether you plan to collect in the mountains, in the flat regions of deserts or in marshes.

Taking care of a bonsai tree isn’t tough due to the amount of effort necessary; rather, the difficulty is due to a lack of expertise. They are finicky plants that can quickly deteriorate and perish if not properly cared for. The first step is to get the tree out of the ground and to keep it alive.

Partner with us for your bonsai needs and check out our website for more information and caring tips for different species of bonsai.