Possibly Hopeless Yamadori


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Victoria, TX
Around Christmas, I found a very large boulder (I'd guess about 5 or 10 tons) in a dry riverbed with five elms growing out the top of it. One of them had roughly a 2" trunk and it was about 3' tall. The trunk had a very pleasing taper and the thickness of the bark implied that it's old, possibly as much as 50 years. But the catch is that these trees weren't growing out of a visible crack in the boulder. It literally looked as if they had been glued to the surface of it. I'm sure there are tiny cracks or holes they've worked roots into, but there's no way I'd be able to haul off the whole boulder, split it to free them, or remove any of them without cutting all of the original roots.

I would love to collect the largest of those trees. But I think it would be tricky, so I completely left it alone that day. I think the most promising way to approach it would be to use a portable drill to attach a few anchors around the base of it, then put some medium around it that will encourage rooting and cover it over with some burlap or other cloth. The cloth would then be fixed in place by the anchors. After about a year, I could go back to check on it. If it has enough new roots developed, I could break it away from its original roots and bring it home to let it recover.

Is it better to leave this tree to split the boulder and continue its journey downstream in a few decades? Or is there some good hope of successfully collecting it? Any suggestions?
Sounds like a lot of work! :D


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Believe me, Tom, I thought of trying that. The problem is that I really wouldn't know what I'm doing.
I think your rooting medium won't stay moist enough to support root growth without being watered regularly.


An additional problem is that this tree is about 2 hours away from where I'm living now and it's about 4 hours from where I'll be living later this year. I'm considering making a trip there in a few days to see how the area looks in the summer. If it's shaded during the heat of the day, I think it might have some hope of staying moist enough for roots. Otherwise, we're talking about Texas heat here, so you can imagine how often it'll be dry.

You're probably correct.
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