Andrew Smith is a contract forester in South Dakota's Black Hills. He became fascinated in bonsai in about 1994 while collecting core specimens from very ancient pines to use in past climate studies. In the process of taking core samples Smith discovered that the oldest trees were rarely the biggest ones and that usually they were growing on rather poor, rocky sites. He also discovered that once they reached about 300 years old most of them developed rot in the center so getting a complete core sample, and an accurate age, was frequently impossible. Andy Smith relates that he was taking all his sample cores at 40″ up the trunk, which is slightly lower than standard, but still high enough to avoid rot near the base. The forest cruising program would add about 12-15 years to the age of a tree to account for the years it took the tree to grow to 40″ tall, which is where my sample would start recording rings. Smith thought these trees, slow growing as they were, would be slightly older than that. So one day he sampled a bunch of 30″-35″ tall “seedlings” to see how old they were. Smith guessed maybe 20-30 years, but to his astonishment most of them were 100 to 150 years old.Andy Smith, commonly acknowledged “king” of yamadori in this country, transplants 300-400 trees per year for bonsai and has supplied demo and workshop trees for many of the world's best bonsai artists. Andy Smith has a set of 2 Bonsai Tree DVDs. Collecting and working with wild bonsai trees should be undertaken only if you know what you are doing, and helping you to learn exactly that is what these excellent bonsai DVDs are all about. He enjoys learning about this beautiful and extraordinary art and meeting with other enthusiasts around the country.
Mr. Smith has been a vendor in every convention that Milwaukee has hosted. He has been a presenter and workshop artist at MBS and can be found every year at the Chicago Shows.