Marking Potential Yamadori In the Wild

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yamadori marker

Beautiful and naturally stunted old Crataegus monogyna/Hawthorn in the hills near where I live.

When considering collecting trees from the wild, one of the more important jobs is to spend some time during the Summer walking potential sites (with permission) and discovering trees that have the qualities needed to become good bonsai. The purpose of this article is not to discuss what makes good yamadori or indeed the process of collection (this is discussed elsewhere on Bonsai4me.com) but rather, how to remember where all of these potential bonsai are when you return in the Winter and Spring to collect them!

deer grazed yamadori

A deer-grazed Hawthorn with extremely well-ramified branches and tiny leaves

It is of course possible to remember where individual trees are located and return to them. However, in recent years, the number of potential yamadori that I have discovered has meant that it has become almost impossible to remember them all!

Large Yamadori Hawthorn

I have been slowly working on this large yamadori Hawthorn for the past 3 years in preparation to collect it.


Having searched around and asked fellow collectors for software or GPS systems that would enable me to mark the spot where a tree is located, came to little. One of the main problems was finding a system that had sufficient accuracy to take me back to the exact spot, within a few metres if necessary, without spending £150+ on an expensive GPS system such as a Garmin.
Given that most of us now carry a smart phone with GPS on us at all times, it made sense that somewhere there would be an app that would work. Finally, I stumbled across this excellent piece of freeware, an app simply called 'Marker'

marker yamadori hunting app

"Marker" app by Jeff Harden

"Marker" app by Jeff Harden is a simple, straightforward app for your Iphone/Ipad that allows you to drop a pin (or mark) where you are standing, name it and save it. Super-imposing your marks onto what appears to be an up-to-date satellite image, makes locating a precise tree or bush very easy! The version for Apple can be downloaded from here

A version for Androids called Map Marker can be downloaded here

yamadori mobile phone app

Because the app uses GPS it works well even in areas with poor or non-existent mobile signal

I've found the app extremely useful, not only has it stopped me wasting time wandering around trying to find a tree (particularly useful if it avoids a fruitless half hour spent walking up and down the side of a hill), but it has also enabled me to plan out a collecting trip beforehand.

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