Collecting A Yew

Mycin

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A house that I'm working on has two yew hedges out front that are gonna go. One is maybe 4×3 and the other is 6×5. It's far from an ideal time of year but I figure might as well practice with these. I've read the other threads on the matter and here's my plan:

- Water & fertilize the day before
- cut back branches to reduce to ~50%, leaving at least one third of foliage
- Mark size of intended rootball ( aiming for ~24")
- Trench one foot around root ball, cutting Roots with sawzall along the way
- work underneath tree until able to reach tap root and cut it
-extricate tree, burlap and water before taking home
- once home, place in wooden training box approx 36"×36"×12", fill with 100% pumice. Secure very securely with wire & guywires
-overwinter: I’m split between overwinter in unheated garage, in mulch filled tub OR heeling into ground and wind protection. Would hate to lug this heavy tree to a cold greenhouse nursery but would consider it if essential


I'd love any feedback or advice. The trees have to go within a week so unfortunately waiting until spring is not an option. Many thanks
 
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Mycin

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Pictures, I’ll get some more today
 

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Mycin

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Btw any nutters in the Chicago area are welcome, and can help themselves to one of the yews :)
 

sorce

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Bro! Straight forgot to reply! I wish I could come play but I been too busy!

Try to keep as much folaige as possible, even if it means ziptying it back.

What kind of work?

Sorce
 

Mycin

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Bro! Straight forgot to reply! I wish I could come play but I been too busy!

Try to keep as much folaige as possible, even if it means ziptying it back.

What kind of work?

Sorce

no sweat, I figured as much .. it’s total renovation of the house but I’m doing the landscaping.

I know it’s hard to say, but if you could give me a rough estimate of how much foliage to retain that would help. I was hoping to cut back to 20-25% but sounds like that would be a bad idea. If I kept 1/3 of live foliage would that be viable? Much more than that would start to get impractical.

Many thanks brother 💪
 

leatherback

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how much foliage to retain
All would be best. They are small bushes; Get them back home complete, and when they start growing in a year, then trim back.

Do not overwater them once dug. They prefer dryish roots.

THese are three dug over summer. The two on the left were quite a bit taller but 3ft was the tallest we could bring. These are tied up and in plastic till fall rains start.

20200906-R14A4152.jpg
 

leatherback

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It just seems that anything ever collected never becomes anything, and they all seem to begin with sparse folaige.
In the end you will probably chop off most branches. I find however that with more foliage they are more prone to root than without. But a lot depends on the rootball you bring with it.

Old yew branches are sometimes unwilling to set in a new place and need a lot of growth to get settled in. So growing out new branches seems to be a good way to go. As these budd so easy and grow fast when recovered.. On the other hand, they do set in place when growing well: https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/another-yew.40153/
 

Forsoothe!

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It just seems that anything ever collected never becomes anything, and they all seem to begin with sparse foliage.

Sorce
You forgot the other eventuality. Dead. Still, a short-cut to big bonsai cadavers!
 

Mycin

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Ok final question: when cutting back, best to leave selected branches untouched and drastic prune the others to trunk? Or reduce all branches more or less evenly?

Big day is here, so stay tuned for photos.
 

Forsoothe!

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Yew branches are connected directly to dedicated roots. The parts with the roots to support the other end might not be the parts you choose to favor just looking at the top. I would upset the plant in the hole before I decided which specific portion to "collect". Then you chose to collect one part, favor it with an appropriate amount of pruning, and chop up the other part to get the good parts out of the soil with the least amount of damage. If it sounds complex and a lot like work, it is.
 

Mycin

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All right, well I came back humbled and empty handed. No trees potted, largely due to my own errors. Here’s the scoop:

The smaller yew had a lower, spreading trunk and seemed like it would have made better bonsai. So we started with that one, carefully preserving the rootball and digging around and under the branches. Well, this yew grew its roots Like its foliage: OUT! Very little feeder root development at the trunk, but it had five roots as thick as my wrist sprawling out at least 5’ out. Even I knew there was slim chance of this rooting in a pot.

so, in my frustration I figured the other one was no good either and chopped off all the branches to make removal easier. What did we find after we dig it up? You guessed it: a fairly compact feeder root system surrounding the trunk. Very viable specimen. Makes sense, the growth was mostly vertical.

This was my first attempt at collecting and I learned a ton so I’m glad I tried. Better to make these mistakes when the stakes are low. I’ll use one of the stumps to mount an orchid so not a total loss.
 

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