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Zelkova broom progression.

-----CREATING A BROOM STYLE ZELKOVA FROM NURSERY STOCK.------

YEAR ONE

May-24
[url=https://img183.imageshack.us/my.php?image=524ad6.jpg][img]https://img183.imageshack.us/img183/6513/524ad6.th.jpg[/img][/url]

June-1
[url=https://img183.imageshack.us/my.php?image=61jp5.jpg][img]https://img183.imageshack.us/img183/3870/61jp5.th.jpg[/img][/url]

June-18
[url=https://img183.imageshack.us/my.php?image=618gd1.jpg][img]https://img183.imageshack.us/img183/7184/618gd1.th.jpg[/img][/url]

June-26
[url=https://img183.imageshack.us/my.php?image=626lp6.jpg][img]https://img183.imageshack.us/img183/7400/626lp6.th.jpg[/img][/url]

August-18
[url=https://img183.imageshack.us/my.php?image=818gu9.jpg][img]https://img183.imageshack.us/img183/1240/818gu9.th.jpg[/img][/url]

October-25
[url=https://img183.imageshack.us/my.php?image=1025xf0.jpg][img]https://img183.imageshack.us/img183/309/1025xf0.th.jpg[/img][/url]

The five primary branches will be pruned to about 1 inch this spring before any new growth emerges. From here on out it will just be a matter of constant pruning to increase ramification.

Norm
Last edited by Gnome on Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Incredible pictorial Gnome. :D

That will be an exceptional broom 8).

Worth at least 6000 words IMO

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Ynot,

Thanks, I started to include text but it was getting out of hand. To do the subject justice I would need to do an entire article. I will be glad to answer any questions however.

Norm

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Those pictures are incredible. This is the first time I have ever seen a trunk chop like that in progression like that, even the books I have aren't that detailed. I find it amazing at how the buds develope from the scar and how quickly. I wanted to know when you actualy chopped the trunk because it looks as though the scar has been healing for a while before it started to bud?

The tree looks like its going to be a great success and I hope to see progress later on. This post has persuaded me to do the same thing with mine in the future. Thanks for the post.

Tom

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Tom,
The tree looks like its going to be a great success and I hope to see progress later on. This post has persuaded me to do the same thing with mine in the future. Thanks for the post.
Thanks for the kind words. I'm happy with the results so far. I'll be sure to post some pictures later this year.
I find it amazing at how the buds develope from the scar and how quickly.
Yeah I know what you mean, The regenerative power of this species is amazing. Not all trees will respond in this fashion, Zelkova is the preferred species for this technique. the first time I did this I could not find anyone who had actually done this to give me any meaningful advice so I just learned as I went.
I wanted to know when you actualy chopped the trunk because it looks as though the scar has been healing for a while before it started to bud?
You are quite correct, I did the chop earlier than is usually recommended for most species. The first time I did this we had an early warm spell at the very end of February and, getting anxious to do some work, I decided to go for it then. I suspect that my decision to attempt this so early was a stroke of good luck. Zelkovas obviously have the ability to re-grow in this fashion but first they will try to throw new buds from lower on the trunk and it was necessary for me to rub off several new buds in order to force the trees energy to the top.

Consider if I had done the chop later, as is usually suggested for other species, the callous would not have yet been formed by the time the weather had warmed requiring an extended waiting period and the removal of even more shoots from the trunk. By doing the chop earlier the callous had an extended period to form and was ready to go by early summer. Even so it took a full three months, March-May until new shoots emerged around the first of June.

I made the chop in the V shape that is usually shown, but in retrospect I believe that that technique is more appropriate if you want to follow a slightly different route. Not all brooms take the same form, some initially divide into two branches then repeatedly bifurcate. I think this V shape may be an attempt to recreate this look. Later I stumbled upon a web article that shows a really interesting technique that would seem to be more appropriate for this multiple branch style.

If you are going to try this you will need to have the tree on hand early in the year and preferably undisturbed for a full year beforehand. The cut is made with a sharp saw then go back and clean it up with a fresh razor knife. The wound is then sealed to prevent the loss of moisture. I used plasticine modeling clay mixed with a little vegetable oil. Whatever you do don't use any thing that hardens as some cut paste or alternatives, like wood glue, do. The edges are smoothed down and any excess that overlaps the bark is removed.

After about a month or six weeks, sorry I did not keep detailed notes, the callous will begin to form and it will lift the edges of the sealant. You can gently roll the sealant back to examine the callous, if it is well formed you can remove the sealant. You still need to keep the callous moist, I used damp, long fibered, sphagnum moss wadded up in a ball around the top of the trunk and covered with an inverted zip-lock bag.

Let it stay like this for a while then later remove the moss but retain the bag to keep up the humidity, mist periodically if necessary. This lets the callous get some light which I suspect is important for the formation of the new buds. By the first of June, 90 days, you should see the nascent buds forming.

Here are a few links that might help.

[url]https://home.vicnet.net.au/~bonsaisp/Spring_2004.htm[/url]

Ynot, see I told you this could end up being an E-novel. :wink:

Norm

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Hey, great info. When you say the tree should be undisturbed for a year do you mean no pruning?
I didn't realize how complicated the process was, i thought you just chop it and let it grow, atleast that is what my books led me to believe. I'll post more questions later i don't have the time to write any more right now.

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Tom,
I thought you just chop it and let it grow, atleast that is what my books led me to believe.
I don't know what species the author/s had in mind, perhaps that was general information. Not all species will respond this way, so for some you might just make the chop and wait to see where the new buds sprout.
When you say the tree should be undisturbed for a year do you mean no pruning?
Yeah, there would be a distinct advantage to not pruning the year before. If you know you are going to remove the top anyway why prune at all? Vigorous growth equates to a healthy tree which means that it will be better able to respond to this fairly harsh treatment. The only pruning I would do at that time would be to remove any branches/shoots that may be present on the lower trunk area that will remain after the chop. Try to minimize any scarring.

What I really meant by "undisturbed" though is not to re-pot or transplant the previous year. The tree will need all of its reserves at the ready in order to push new buds. Therefore the roots should be well established and the tree well fed. This by the way holds true in most, if not all, cases where a large chop is planned.

Norm

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The book was about an english elm, but what I meant was it didn't give as much inf as you did. Also, I guess im going to have to wait a couple years cause I'm still developing the root system, and the soil is bad and really needs to be changed this year.

I would hate to waste the entire top of the tree, do you think I could airlayer the top and make a smaller tree out of it instead of just throwing it away?

And there are some lower branches that will be below the cut, should i leave these for now to further thicken the trunk or should i cut them now so they can heal before hand?

Tom

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constantstaticx3,

Just a few comments to stick in here:
The book was about an english elm, but what I meant was it didn't give as much inf as you did. Also, I guess im going to have to wait a couple years cause I'm still developing the root system, and the soil is bad and really needs to be changed this year.

Do you mean the nebari? Or the actual root system?

Either way waiting is a good idea, You want your root system to be as healthy as possible to promote strong growth after the [eventual] chop.
I would hate to waste the entire top of the tree, do you think I could airlayer the top and make a smaller tree out of it instead of just throwing it away?
Sure. It will set your schedule back a bit though.
And there are some lower branches that will be below the cut, should I leave these for now to further thicken the trunk or should I cut them now so they can heal before hand?
IMO this depends entirely on the location of the branches as you don't want to induce any reverse taper.

Post some pictures please 8)
keep posting
ynot
Last edited by ynot on Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Do you mean the nebari? Or the actual root system?
Actualy both, the tree was quite rootbound when i first got it about a year ago so I'm still trying to fix that. The nebari is ok but it only has one good strong surface root and im going to try a technique where you score the base at the soil line and this should encourage better surface roots to grow. I tried this before on a pine and it seemed to work ok.

Here's a pic.
[url=https://img127.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc01298hl2.jpg][img]https://img127.imageshack.us/img127/9291/dsc01298hl2.th.jpg[/img][/url]

Here's th base which is about an inch thick. The one strong root is hidden by the moss on the right side.
[url=https://img382.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc01299sa1.jpg][img]https://img382.imageshack.us/img382/8426/dsc01299sa1.th.jpg[/img][/url]

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Tom.
And there are some lower branches that will be below the cut, should I leave these for now to further thicken the trunk or should I cut them now so they can heal before hand?
As you know all branches that are growing serve to thicken the trunk below it, generally a good thing. With this style however you want a smooth, straight, unblemished trunk so the earlier you remove them the smaller the wound will be and the longer it will have to heal.

I would hate to waste the entire top of the tree, do you think I could airlayer the top and make a smaller tree out of it instead of just throwing it away?
I understand your desire to retain some of your work and this is advice that I have read quite often though I wonder about the practical aspects of such an approach. When you layer a tree you are allowing water and nutrients to flow up the trunk unimpeded but you are interrupting the flow of carbohydrates back down. This causes an accumulation at the layer site which stimulate the new roots.

If there are no branches below the layer site it seems to me that the layering process will weaken the lower part of the tree, the exact opposite of what you would want to do before a big chop. Perhaps you can leave some branches below the layer site. This will allow the tree to still store food in the root system for the chop the next spring. This of course is dependent upon the location of your current branches, the desired location of the layer and the amount of room you have to work with.

There is always the option of purchasing another tree this year and leaving it undisturbed until next spring. I got mine at Lowe's for $20.00. This way you don't feel that you have wasted all your previous work. Be aware though that you will face the same dilemma with the new tree. I cut off about 5 feet and simply threw it away.

Norm

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Yea i have to agree that it would weaken the tree to air layer it and also i have never done it before so it may be a bad idea for me.

You actualy found a zelkova at lowes, maybe i will do that. I've never seen one there before but this spring i'll look hard. I would really hate to waste what i have already, i really do like the way it looks so far.

Anyway, thanks for all the info, your post has been very informative.

Tom

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Tom,
Anyway, thanks for all the info, your post has been very informative.
You're welcome, glad to know someone has been inspired.
You actualy found a zelkova at lowes, maybe I will do that. I've never seen one there before but this spring I'll look hard.
They are sold as shade trees. Perhaps you could call and speak to a manager to inquire if they will carry them. You could also call around to other local nurseries. Just remember to look for a good trunk, the thicker the better. If the rootage or lower part of the trunk is bad you can always ground layer it later, that is my intention.

Good luck with your search and let us know what you find.

Norm

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One more question, i plan on buying a tree like you did but when i buy it should i just leave it in the pot it comes in or could I put it in a training pot withough trimming the roots? Thanks.

Tom

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Tom,
One more question, I plan on buying a tree like you did but when I buy it should I just leave it in the pot it comes in or could I put it in a training pot withough trimming the roots?
If you buy your tree this year it may already be in full leaf making a re-pot this year a little risky. If you get it early enough and you are comfortable with your ability to keep it healthy you can probably get away with it as Zelkovas are strong growers. It still early enough that you may be able to locate one before it leafs out, this would be a better choice. Call around to local nurseries, the box stores don't seem to get them in early enough.

Norm

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Yea im probobly going to go to some local nurseries this weekend and look. Sometimes they have some leftover trees. I can also ask one of the nurseries that i always go to if they could special order me one. Also i almost forgot, im going to the philadelphia flower show next weekend. I know of a vender that might have suitable material that i could start on this year. In fact i could email them and ask them to bring one for me. lol. Thanks for sparking up some ideas for me.

Tom

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Tom,
Thanks for sparking up some ideas for me.
You're welcome.
In fact I could email them and ask them to bring one for me.
Make sure they know you are interested in doing a broom so you get a good straight trunk of some diameter. Same goes for the special order, although you may be taking a chance there.

Don't forget that you really only need a portion of the trunk to be straight. I will need to do a ground layer on mine at some point because the lower trunk has a curve. This will also, hopefully, allow me to establish a good nebari.

Norm

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When you ground layer, do you just score the base of the tree cover it with soil and grow a new top root system for nabari or do you chop the tree below the layer after the roots have formed in order to create a completely new root system?

Tom

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constantstaticx3 wrote:When you ground layer, do you just score the base of the tree cover it with soil and grow a new top root system for nabari or do you chop the tree below the layer after the roots have formed in order to create a completely new root system?

Tom
Both, First one [Some use sphagnum moss] -Then the other.
You are growing a replacement for defective nebari [the visible portion of the roots] Or in the case of Gnomes broom- To correct a trunk defect.

However, You still need an [appropriately sized ]effective root system with it. This will allow you to remove the older, lower trunk & root system attached to the previous nebari.

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Tom,

Ynot answered the question effectively. The term ground layer in conventional gardening means something different than what I was trying to convey. Another way to think of it is as an air layer very close to the soil line. In my case I intend to build a smaller training box, with no bottom, to go around the trunk rather than the more often seen method of using plastic wrap. I still have not decided if I will do it this year or wait.

Norm

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Yea thanks i just wanted to clear that up because in one of my books it shows a method where you score a small section of the base and cover that with spagnum moss. This will produce one root or a few roots that you can trim to improve the existing nebari. I've said before i've tried it and was succesful. Unfortunately the tree died later on from a soil problem that was my fault.
In my case I intend to build a smaller training box, with no bottom, to go around the trunk
That sounds like a good way to do it. I'm not a fan of the plastic rap either, it looks horrible.

If i were you I would want to layer it this year but I would think you should work more on developing the branches this year and layer next year, but thats just me. Thanks again for all the info.

Tom

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Norm

Ive never styled a broom, but it looks like fun. Yours has a good start.

I've rooted a couple plants a few inches above the soil line before. Stripped about an inch of bark off, Cut a 6" azalea pot in half from top to bottom, and cut the bottom off it. Set it on the soil around the trunk, put a piece of wire round the pot, filled with soil, watered, then wrapped in plastic to help hold moisture.

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Randy,
Ive never styled a broom, but it looks like fun. Yours has a good start.
Thanks, I am looking forward to this years work now that I can begin to prune for some ramification.
I've rooted a couple plants a few inches above the soil line before. Stripped about an inch of bark off, Cut a 6" azalea pot in half from top to bottom, and cut the bottom off it. Set it on the soil around the trunk, put a piece of wire round the pot, filled with soil, watered, then wrapped in plastic to help hold moisture.
Yeah that's pretty much what I have in mind only with a different "container". I have tried air layers before, some rooted and some did not. But I have almost always managed to screw it up one way or another, impatience to remove the layer and inadequate winter protection for the new plant come to mind. I intend to be very cautious with this one.

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Today I made the new chops that begins the process of dividing the five primary branches. The whole of last seasons work went into creating just these five small stubs. I'm not expecting the new shoots to emerge from the tops of the stubs like last year, but rather from the sides as is more commonly seen. These five branches will become ten, which in turn will become 20 and so on.

YEAR TWO

March-15
[url=https://img184.imageshack.us/my.php?image=chopzu1.jpg][img]https://img184.imageshack.us/img184/2599/chopzu1.th.jpg[/img][/url]

Norm
Last edited by Gnome on Sun May 27, 2007 6:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Nice start Norm. May have to give this a try sometime.

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Randy,

Thanks. It has been an interesting process. I'll keep the updates coming as they are warranted.

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Here's an update on the Zelkova.

May-25
[url=https://img81.imageshack.us/my.php?image=broomupdatelx2.jpg][img]https://img81.imageshack.us/img81/3880/broomupdatelx2.th.jpg[/img][/url]

This shot clearly shows the new buds at the tops of the five primary branches. Once again there are too many to utilize and I will be choosing two or possibly three to remain on each.

Norm

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That looks great Gnome :D . It also looks like there are some buds coming from the base of those stubs as well but they could easily be rubbed off.

THis is going to be a great tree. One question, did you decide to groundlayer this year or are you holding off on this for a while?

Tom

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Tom,
That looks great Gnome. THis is going to be a great tree. It also looks like there are some buds coming from the base of those stubs as well but they could easily be rubbed off.
Thanks, yes there were many buds that formed lower and were removed. At first I thought I might allow the new branches to form from the bark of the five primary branches. Unfortunately the tree did not cooperate, all of the early buds formed at the bases of the primary branches, exactly where I did not want them.
One question, did you decide to groundlayer this year or are you holding off on this for a while?
I think I am pushed back another year. Since I had no luck with new buds forming at reasonable locations I was forced to follow the same course as last year, removing low buds to force the apex, this has slowed me down dramatically. It is now almost June and my shoots are just forming so I am reluctant to go messing around with it this year.

I think that I will be able do at least one round of pruning (of the secondary branches) this year. I hope this will get me off to an earlier start next year. If so I should be able to do the layer then. I did do an air layer on another Zelkova that I have in a growing bed though, just to get some more experience before I commit myself to this one.

Norm
Last edited by Gnome on Mon May 28, 2007 5:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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That sounds like a good plan to me.

I had actualy stopped thinking that I was no going to make a broom out of my new zelkova because of the ttrunkline on the lower portion of the tree, but then I realized I could just airlayer it a little higher than I was initialy and that should leave me with a straight trunk. I think I oing to let a grow for another year or two though to let it thicken up a bit.


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The Zelkova today, five weeks after the last photo.

[url=https://img294.imageshack.us/my.php?image=broomjulyjj7.jpg][img]https://img294.imageshack.us/img294/5460/broomjulyjj7.th.jpg[/img][/url]

And a virtual of what it might look like after the coming layer.
[url=https://img294.imageshack.us/my.php?image=broomvirtcq9.jpg][img]https://img294.imageshack.us/img294/8000/broomvirtcq9.th.jpg[/img][/url]

Norm

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Gnome,

This one is looking great! I would like to see a picture of it in dormancy so the branch structure so far is more visible. Also, do you plan on layering this year or are you going to wait another year for more development?

Tom

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Tom,

Here you go, these were taken on Nov 30. It was pruned back somewhat to aid in storage. I'm pretty sure that I will be doing the layer this year. I can't really think of a reason not to.
First an overview:
[url=https://img165.imageshack.us/my.php?image=pb300003cropvp1.jpg][img]https://img165.imageshack.us/img165/8664/pb300003cropvp1.th.jpg[/img][/url]
And a closeup of the branches:
[url=https://img165.imageshack.us/my.php?image=pb300004cropul8.jpg][img]https://img165.imageshack.us/img165/5481/pb300004cropul8.th.jpg[/img][/url]

Norm

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Gnome,

Its lookin great. I am surprised how nicely the bulge at the chop site has kind of melted into the rest of the tree and is actually quit smooth looking. It seems you have some cleaning up to do with branch structure this year.

I wish you the best on your layering attempt. It would be heart breaking if something went wrong after all this work. I'm sure you can pull it off though.

Tom

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Tom,
It would be heart breaking if something went wrong after all this work.
Bite your tongue. :wink: I've had mixed results with layering, one success, several near misses and a few failures. I also have one that was separated last year that the jury is still out on. I intend to be very cautious with this one, leaving it to over-winter into 2009 if necessary. I'll document the process here when I start.

Norm

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[url=https://img135.imageshack.us/my.php?image=zelkovaserratalgaw9.jpg][img]https://img135.imageshack.us/img135/6596/zelkovaserratalgaw9.th.jpg[/img][/url]

Found this on the National Arboretum website and thought I'd post it here for some inspiration. When I eventually make one, I want it to be short and fat like this one. I also plan on visiting this Museum early summer and maybe I can get a better look at its branch structure.

Enjoy! :D

Tom

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Tom,

Thanks for the picture, I saved it to my "my pictures" folder where it now rotates with others as my screen saver. Now here's something I found recently and wanted to let you know about, [url=https://www.internationalbonsai.com/nbe08/]The First National Bonsai Exhibition.[/url] I don't know if this is close enough for you to make it but I wanted to let you know.

Norm

Edit:

Sorry, I just took a look at Google maps and found that Rochester is pretty far upstate, sorry for the tease.

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Thats a great idea and I just stole it :D . I actually had the picture as my backround but since you said that I made a screen saver myself.

Rochester is quite far but I have a lot of time to think about it. Who knows? :wink:

Tom

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Ok, time for the first update of the year.
It seems you have some cleaning up to do with branch structure this year.
[url=https://img170.imageshack.us/my.php?image=p4240004cropvk5.jpg][img]https://img170.imageshack.us/img170/135/p4240004cropvk5.th.jpg[/img][/url]
Tom, does this look better? I never mentioned it last year but one of the 15 secondary branches was somehow damaged. I don't think it will matter in the long run though, there are plenty of buds to make up for it. Time to layer it off soon, I'm getting tired of the ugly base.

Norm

constantstaticx3
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Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:24 am
Location: Haddonfield, NJ

Actually it looks fantastic! Once those new branches extend it will look even better almost finished. Be sure to document your layering process thoroughly. I'm so excited for this one!

Tom :D

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