Aftercare for Collected Bonsai Material

Have you considered collecting a tree in the woods to create a bonsai? Maybe you have been field growing a tree or have a landscape shrub that if collected would make a wonderful bonsai. These are great ways of obtaining bonsai material that have developed trunks and established branching. This 4 part video series walks you through considerations and techniques you should consider when you collect a tree that you want to turn into a bonsai.

This is a recording of a ZOOM discussion presented by Mike Stern, president of the Pittsburgh Bonsai Society. This presentation is informed by recommendations of Randy Knight, arguably the foremost collector of Yamadori (collected wild trees) in the United States. Before he collected Yamadori, he had a field growing operation for bonsai stock. He made careful observations during his years of failure and success which has led to significantly increasing survivability of collected bonsai stock from the wild as well as the field. Much of this knowledge is more consistent with the nursery industry practice rather than bonsai practice.

The care and goals for recently collected raw material out of the wild, field, or landscape are different than the goals for recently potted bonsai. It is all about immediate health and survival. At the end of these videos, you will be knowledgeable of the best time to collect material as well as the immediate, medium, and long-term strategies to have the tree recover as efficiently as possible. There are lots of ways to screw it up and only a few ways to get it right.