The Dig!

 For the collection of suitable bonsai material, one has to look no further than his or her own yard. There's a wealth of material hidden within plain sight! All you have to do is take a step back a look in such places a hedge or you flower garden, a crack in the side walk, and a drive in the country should yield some excellent results! Just be sure of a few precautions before you go out beyond your own property. 

1. Know the plant material you intend to collect. (Make sure its not protected, prohibited, or harmful to you the collector.  i.e.; poison ivy )  

2. Get the proper permission to collect the intended material. ( Is it located on public, or private land? Will you need a permit to collect?)

 3. Have the proper tools and supplies available before you dig up anything!  (Make a list of what you'll need, it will save you the heartache later!)

 4. Have a "POST COLLECTING" plan ready when you get the tree's) home. (Will you be potting them up or planting them in the ground?)

Knowing how to collect is as important as knowing what you're collecting. There are certain times throughout the year that are better then others to collect, Spring is better then Fall, which is better then Summer, which is better then Winter.  But you can get a head start for the following years collecting by spade cutting the root ball of a tree, and in tender or difficult trees you could postpone the collection of that tree over a few years, provided you have the time and patience.  I use as a rule of thumb, digging a root ball 1/3 of the trees height and for the depth of the hole, and the same width of the drip line  across. Depending on the size of the taproot you encounter you may have to dig  and remove the soil around the tree and notch the taproot to apply a makeshift air-layer in ground, and back fill the hole with a sand laden soil mixture. And come back the next year or the following to retrieve the tree.

Now for some pictures!