Mountain Hemlock Yamadori Progress

These pictures represent the progress of a Yamadori collected in 2012, acquired in 2014 and under development since then. I hope to have it show ready in 2020.


Hemlocks are beautiful - and they develop so quickly! Looks like you’ll have no problem getting this into shape by 2020 :slight_smile:

Spring 2019 update! Spring haircut and style in preparation for another year on the bench. Needed help with reduction of growth and unifying the flow! It’s great to have close friends with suggestions and the talent to go along with the suggestions. Needs to fill in and further develop pads for another year or two.


Hello, I love mountain hemlocks! what are you using for your soil mixture?

The soil mix that i have used for all my collected trees follows this progression.
Upon collection they are put in pure pumice.
After recovery and during training development.
20 % Akadama
40 % Pumice
20% Black Lava
20% granite grit
I seive for particle size rejecting anything to large for the big screen in a set of three and rejecting the fines that fall through the smallest screen in the set. This leaves me with a fairly homogenous combination size wise for drainage, moisture retention and air porosity.
It is a drier mix than most and requires more attention to regular watering. I use sphagnum moss on top after repotting to slow down evaporation initially.
If you require more moisture retention, consider adding up to 5% bark of similar particle size. Also make sure to fertilize properly as the basic mix is inorganic.

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Thank you Frank, I appreciate the info.

I just discovered how wonderful Hemlocks are. My local nursery got a bunch of wild collected ones in last year and I bought one and started working it. I know it is likely to take 5 years to get it to where it is presentable, but they are wonderful trees. This one is such a beauty!

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Glad to hear that others are beginning to discover this native North American beauty.
Be careful with the repotting when first establishing the tree. Choose a more cautious approach of 1/3 of the root ball at a time and work mostly from the bottom on the larger roots. Hemlocks are very dependant on the smaller feeder roots closer to the surface. Also important to avoid compacted soil in the center portion under the trunk, consider dealing with this section of the root ball first, then begin the outer perimeter!
Once they have a developed root ball they are much more vigorous and easier to maintain.
Good luck with your tree and post a picture when you get a chance. Consider starting a thread in shares to document the development. Welcome to Bonsai Tonight!

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Thanks Frank and thanks for the response. Also thanks for the pointers! After reading response above about the soil recipe I went to the feed store and got some crushed granite that i will screen as described above and create a more porous mix for my hemlocks. I use the Japanese pelletized fertilizer with mycorrhizae. will that do the trick for the fertilization of these when I move to the inorganic soil?

I just posted about a Chinese Elm I am struggling with but will post pictures of the hemlock I bought soon. Nice to meet you and thanks for the welcome!

Organic fertiliser work fine in inorganic soil, they just take a bit of time to begin breaking down into useable form for the trees. That is the preferred form of fertiliser that i use on my best trees when they begin to reach a higher level of refinement. The only difference is that i make up my own formulae rather than purchase the Japanese form.

Update Picture of progress!! Working on trunk position in relation to each other and styling tweaks.

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Coming along great, especially the tree on the right with the great right-pointing branches. It looks like the main tree will be there before long.

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Thanks, i tend to work it twice a year at this stage. Will spend some time on it next week to thin,check wiring and placement.

How close are you trying to get the two trunks? I am thinking halving the space would get it into the sweet spot.

The picture above is not straight on the front planting angle! The current wired position is right on where i hope it to finish! The distance between the two has changed over 7 inches during the time i have worked with the tree! Trunks this thickness and age take time to adjust. This weekend i will be working further on the design, will post a better shot afterwards!

Now that you point it out I see the angle is not like I imagined it. Working with think, hardened wood can be nerve wracking! I have broken mare than a few heavy branches by being to eager for immediate results. So much patience is required and it is really paying off on this beauty.

Thanks, i began with this tree in 2013, shortly after my son passed away! It was selected as a Father and Son style project. The tree was collected by Anton Niujuis on Vancouver Island. This was the starting point!! At the time i was studying with Michael Hagedorn and i took it to him for initial styling concepts and overall beginning plan in November 2013. It has been worked, wired, bent with jacks, unwired, retired countless times since.About two years from now i hope to enter it in a show.


That is a beautiful tree with a beautiful story.

What a journey! And what a way to make something truly beautiful. Now I am itching to see you enter it in a show!