First large yew project

Messages
15
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33
Location
Hoboken New Jersey
USDA Zone
7a
#1
I found this yew for free on Craigslist! It was going to be torn out for a remodel and the woman just wanted it to go to a good home. It was my first attempt at digging up bonsai stock and it was WAY harder than I had expected. Haha. But there was no turning back once I was in it. Once I found a nice trunk line I decided it was worth the fight.

The tree is now in a large pot on my balcony. It seemed to have a good amount of feeder roots. I have concerns going into winter knowing that I dug it up at a less than optimal time of year. I’m going to do my best protecting it this winter even though I can’t really bring it into a cold shelter as it’s huge and my wife would kill me if I dragged it back through the house. It’s gotta stay where it is for now. Oh, I live in Hoboken, NJ zone 7

My plan is to leave it alone for a full year and let it recover.

1) All the foliage is far from the trunk. When the tree is healthy, what would be the best way to encourage back budding way lower on old wood? Should I always leave some green on the branch? Or could I reduce it hard and force back budding? Once it’s healthy of course.

On the branches that I’m sure I won’t be using, they will be carved. should I strip or ring the bark away so that it dies off and the tree doesn’t expend energy on growth that I won’t use?

2) any styling is advice is welcome 😉

EDED7AD5-338C-417D-AE7D-985A002CD45E.jpeg 39FA9CF8-2EAD-4358-B3FE-AB237F95E101.jpeg 1926B0D2-B080-4A96-A332-D9D36B2B7144.jpeg 18A6C1D2-C92D-461E-B7D1-4D9A7D801EBE.jpeg 3504B504-7977-4AFB-AEB3-1EE9236F3F3B.jpeg 7C9637EC-A7A2-4CE0-97CF-9F1F913FBBCF.jpeg
 
Messages
170
Likes
122
Location
Boston
USDA Zone
6a
#2
Bravo! I am always on the hunt for Yews like this. Also you lucked out as the roots look fiberous then some I have seen, I wonder if being against that cement wall helped with that, you have big roots too, but good start.
 
Messages
1,900
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2,716
Location
Northern Germany
USDA Zone
7
#3
I find the thought that a tree "spends energy on branches that you will not need" a commong misconception. The energy for plants coes from the leaves. So from the branches with foliage. Keeping those will help the plant recover. So no, I would not remove branches you do not need later on untill your plant is very happy and healthy. Right now, you need all the energy generating foliage you can get. Main concern is keeping it from drying out while settling in.

Backbudding will happen naturally when you have the tree established and start trimming the tree. I trim the branchs to the last 10 or so needle pairs in mid-summer to induce backbudding. Again,on healthy trees.
 
Messages
170
Likes
122
Location
Boston
USDA Zone
6a
#4
@leatherback, I agree and of same thinking, however, I have heard from others on the Bnut, that talk about cutting back, like a deciduous almost, where there are no needles and a stump only, and then they say it Bbuds like crazy.
Sidenote, thanks for the assistance yesterday on Tree thread, felt like a bonehead after, but if were not told we wont learn.
also do you have Yews in full sun, im thinking of moving mine to a more shaded area for next season?
 
Messages
1,026
Likes
1,297
Location
Philadelphia PA
USDA Zone
7a
#6
Great find. Yews can be bitches to dig. I've noticed they usually have a couple layers of roots like yours did.
I would have cut off that entire bottom root section. Looks like you had plenty of feeder roots up top.
Let it get healthy and keep us posted.
CW
 
Messages
438
Likes
261
Location
Livonia, MI
USDA Zone
6A
#7
talk about cutting back, like a deciduous almost, where there are no needles and a stump only, and then they say it Bbuds like crazy.
Only when the tree is very, very vigorous. And not reliably at that. Thirdly this is not advice that should be given to a beginner.
 
Messages
170
Likes
122
Location
Boston
USDA Zone
6a
#8
Only when the tree is very, very vigorous. And not reliably at that. Thirdly this is not advice that should be given to a beginner.
I agree and am of the thinking that trees need there "solar panels" to grow and get vigorous, I will keep working with that knowledge.
 
Messages
589
Likes
705
Location
Philly PA
USDA Zone
6b?
#9
Great scored man, I dig the form! I love Yew too.

I'm not quite sure how important it is to protect the roots from freezing over winter. I've "collected" a big Yew this spring that was in one of those half barrel planter. The roots where exposed to freezes probably it's entire life so I know they are good up here. When i got there, the planter was totally useless. Just falling apart.

But if you are cautious about root freeze damage, one idea is to put container in a styrofoam box, or make one with styrofoam panels. And pack it with mulch.

Everything looks positive so far. Good luck!
 
Messages
15
Likes
33
Location
Hoboken New Jersey
USDA Zone
7a
#10
Great scored man, I dig the form! I love Yew too.

I'm not quite sure how important it is to protect the roots from freezing over winter. I've "collected" a big Yew this spring that was in one of those half barrel planter. The roots where exposed to freezes probably it's entire life so I know they are good up here.

But if you are cautious about root freeze damage, one idea is to put container in a styrofoam box, or make one with styrofoam panels. And pack it with mulch.

Everything looks positive so far. Good luck!
Awesome! That’s reassuring and helpful. Thank you 🙏🏼
 
Messages
170
Likes
122
Location
Boston
USDA Zone
6a
#11
@Microscopic "one idea is to put container in a styrofoam box",

I have seen these used before, and am fortunate to get good ones through work, I have even painted some and now using a mix of paint and cement slurry to add some more strength. not a fan of the plastic buckets, haha, and it makes me feel im on the way to a proper bonsai and B. pot. haha. Heres a pic of what I mean, forgive the mess, im moving a lot around currently. Actually have one with Shimp's cuttings top of pic.

foam containers.jpg
 
Messages
589
Likes
705
Location
Philly PA
USDA Zone
6b?
#12
Hey that's pretty cool! BUT, where are the drainage hole(s)? I failed to mention drainage holes on styrofoam on previous post.
 
Messages
170
Likes
122
Location
Boston
USDA Zone
6a
#13
in deed need drain holes on S.foam. good thing is there easy and fast to make and whatever size you want.
I have come to the conclusion that I like larger drain holes, and will water more as needed. Also most of Styrofoam containers are usually bigger than what is needed for the trees I put in them, but I still am growing out my collection. So since they are bigger, I don't want the drainage being in issue with the science of it all, so I have mostly inorganic substrate in them(mostly pumice) and large drain and numerous holes. One of the few times a big hole is a good thing. Badum bump! Haha

styrofoam pot of drain holes.jpg
 
Messages
15
Likes
33
Location
Hoboken New Jersey
USDA Zone
7a
#15
Its not dead yet. haha. I used some Rhizotonic on it yesterday. Today I noticed TEENY tiny buds appearing further back (about an inch back from established green growth) which I was pretty excited about. I know the rhizotonic didn't work that fast. Now, I need it to bud WAY further back than that, but all in due time.

I'm also breaking the news to my wife that I'm going to build a box around the pot and fill it with mulch for the winter, in order to protect the roots. She's confused and not happy that the Giant Yew on our balcony is now going to have a "Gianter" DIY box around it!!! haha
 

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Messages
261
Likes
550
Location
Albuquerque, NM
USDA Zone
7
#16
Its not dead yet. haha. I used some Rhizotonic on it yesterday. Today I noticed TEENY tiny buds appearing further back (about an inch back from established green growth) which I was pretty excited about. I know the rhizotonic didn't work that fast. Now, I need it to bud WAY further back than that, but all in due time.

I'm also breaking the news to my wife that I'm going to build a box around the pot and fill it with mulch for the winter, in order to protect the roots. She's confused and not happy that the Giant Yew on our balcony is now going to have a "Gianter" DIY box around it!!! haha
Love hurts....

Glad it survived. The fact that it’s still alive is a good sign. @parhamr has a separate thread I was just reading in regards to an urban yew he dug. It ended up dead but it seemed to show the same small buds, green foliage but with little to no growth yours exhibits. It may be worth striking up a conversation to see if he’s got an idea or two as to what may have happened.

Best of luck! I’ll check back next spring!
 
Messages
589
Likes
705
Location
Philly PA
USDA Zone
6b?
#17
Umm did the older stems make any new growth? Like a second flush? Mines been growing all summer and still has the light green young growth on the ends. But I'm not sure that's a good thing cause maybe it stalled...? It has shoots from 1 to almost 2 feet long so far.

From what I gather, we're not out of the woods till something like after the third year from collection. Or if new roots are positively ID'd.

side note: My collected yew is making what looks like next years bud but not flower balls (it's a male). While my "bonsai" yew made a bunch of flower balls ready for next year. I wonder if that's a bad sign.
 
Messages
15
Likes
33
Location
Hoboken New Jersey
USDA Zone
7a
#20
Umm did the older stems make any new growth? Like a second flush? Mines been growing all summer and still has the light green young growth on the ends. But I'm not sure that's a good thing cause maybe it stalled...? It has shoots from 1 to almost 2 feet long so far.

From what I gather, we're not out of the woods till something like after the third year from collection. Or if new roots are positively ID'd.

side note: My collected yew is making what looks like next years bud but not flower balls (it's a male). While my "bonsai" yew made a bunch of flower balls ready for next year. I wonder if that's a bad sign.
Just saw your update on your yew. It’s looks awesome. You’re giving me hope!!! 🤛🏼
 

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