photograph courtesy Yusuke Narita
Sometime in 15th century Japan, a horticulture technique called daisugi was developed in Kyoto. Written as 台杉 and literally meaning platform cedar, the technique resulted in a tree that resembled an open palm with multiple trees growing out if it, perfectly vertical. Pictured above is a daisugi in Kyoto’s Kitayama district and is perhaps the most famous example in all of Japan.
The technique was developed in Kyoto as a means of solving a seedling shortage and was used to create a sustainable harvest of timber from a single tree. Done right, the technique can prevent deforestation and result in perfectly round and straight timber known as taruki, which are used in the roofs of Japanese teahouses. Smaller, decorative daisugi also exist around Japan but maintaining them can be expensive and time-consuming. Below, gardeners from Komori Zouen show before and after pictures illustrating the technique
photos courtesy Komori Zouen
Below is a forest of smaller daisugi, contrasted against fall foliage in Kyoto:
photograph courtesy Ai Hirakawa
Daisugi has also been the subject of Japanese painting. Below is a scroll of the famous Kitayama Daisugi, painted by Housen Higashihara (1886 – 1972).
a scroll by artist Housen Higashihara, spotted on auction for roughly $300
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