Broom style how to question

Messages
1,517
Likes
956
Location
Downstate New York, Zone 6b
USDA Zone
6b
#1
I have this Exbury azalea that would seem to lend itself well to broom style, but I have never attempted a broom before. I've done some research and it seems like you still need an upright leader, with branches around the periphery. Looking at this image, please indicate which branches you'd keep, and which you'd cut to best facilitate a broom style. It has inverse taper, but oh well. Let me know if you need close up pics from various angles. Thanks for your help!

20180804_144229.jpg
 

0soyoung

Masterpiece
Messages
4,985
Likes
7,372
Location
Anacortes, WA
USDA Zone
8b
#2
It should be EZPZ with this because you have the intial set of branches. After blooming in spring 2019, chop them a little bit above the point they originate - so you make kind of a flat arc over the trunk. If you look closely you may be able to see 'eyes' (which are bud sites) in the bark and pick points just above them. It should pop a whole bunch of new shoots that you can gently wire later, in the summer. I use aluminum and usually take it off before winter as the shoots usually have already lignified into position. Rinse & repeat in 2020 (you should again get flowers).

Alternatively, 2020 and beyond, you can just take some hedge shears to it. Azaleas take to it. The downside is that shearing tends to produce some ugly knots, but you can clean these out one at a time with scissors after shearing. One can shear most azales a couple of time per season. If you want flowers, stop cutting after the summer solstice (21 June) with early bloomers; late bloomers can maybe be cut until as late as August and still set flower buds.
 
Messages
1,517
Likes
956
Location
Downstate New York, Zone 6b
USDA Zone
6b
#3
It should be EZPZ with this because you have the intial set of branches. After blooming in spring 2019, chop them a little bit above the point they originate - so you make kind of a flat arc over the trunk. If you look closely you may be able to see 'eyes' (which are bud sites) in the bark and pick points just above them. It should pop a whole bunch of new shoots that you can gently wire later, in the summer. I use aluminum and usually take it off before winter as the shoots usually have already lignified into position. Rinse & repeat in 2020 (you should again get flowers).

Alternatively, 2020 and beyond, you can just take some hedge shears to it. Azaleas take to it. The downside is that shearing tends to produce some ugly knots, but you can clean these out one at a time with scissors after shearing. One can shear most azales a couple of time per season. If you want flowers, stop cutting after the summer solstice (21 June) with early bloomers; late bloomers can maybe be cut until as late as August and still set flower buds.
Something like this, correct?
 

Attachments

Messages
4,436
Likes
7,096
Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
#5
I would remove the branch with the red X entirely. Otherwise the prune in an arc idea is good.

Reason, all the branches should have a shared angle they leave the main trunk at. The classic elm shape is like a wine glass, all the branches around the trunk have the same, or fairly similar smooth arc to their shape.

20180804_144229edited.jpg
 
Messages
1,517
Likes
956
Location
Downstate New York, Zone 6b
USDA Zone
6b
#6
It should be EZPZ with this because you have the intial set of branches. After blooming in spring 2019, chop them a little bit above the point they originate - so you make kind of a flat arc over the trunk. If you look closely you may be able to see 'eyes' (which are bud sites) in the bark and pick points just above them. It should pop a whole bunch of new shoots that you can gently wire later, in the summer. I use aluminum and usually take it off before winter as the shoots usually have already lignified into position. Rinse & repeat in 2020 (you should again get flowers).

Alternatively, 2020 and beyond, you can just take some hedge shears to it. Azaleas take to it. The downside is that shearing tends to produce some ugly knots, but you can clean these out one at a time with scissors after shearing. One can shear most azales a couple of time per season. If you want flowers, stop cutting after the summer solstice (21 June) with early bloomers; late bloomers can maybe be cut until as late as August and still set flower buds.
Why do you prune after flowers bloom and not before? Seems like a waste of the tree's energy.
 
Messages
1,517
Likes
956
Location
Downstate New York, Zone 6b
USDA Zone
6b
#7
I would remove the branch with the red X entirely. Otherwise the prune in an arc idea is good.

Reason, all the branches should have a shared angle they leave the main trunk at. The classic elm shape is like a wine glass, all the branches around the trunk have the same, or fairly similar smooth arc to their shape.
Thank you. Yes, I agree 100% on the extraneous branch and the shape of the broom. I have however, seen a lot of brooms with the first ring of branches at the horizontal, instead of up at an angle. What are your thoughts on that?
 

0soyoung

Masterpiece
Messages
4,985
Likes
7,372
Location
Anacortes, WA
USDA Zone
8b
#8
Why do you prune after flowers bloom and not before? Seems like a waste of the tree's energy.
  1. I like the flowers
    1. the moderate energy investment of flowers was in making the buds, which are just metamorphosed vegetative buds
    2. blooming is little more than inflating cells that are in the bud
    3. shear/prune well after the summer solstice to eliminate flower buds (Sep/Oct - ish)
  2. making seeds is the #1 carbohydrate (energy) sink away from growth
    1. shearing after flowering 'automatically' dead-heads and eliminates possible seed production
  3. there is always a burst of vegetative growth after flowering, regardless of variety
 
Messages
4,436
Likes
7,096
Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
#9
Thank you. Yes, I agree 100% on the extraneous branch and the shape of the broom. I have however, seen a lot of brooms with the first ring of branches at the horizontal, instead of up at an angle. What are your thoughts on that?
I always thought those brooms with a ring of horizontal branches looked unnatural. Looked artificial. Broom is a very natural shape for elms, maples and many deciduous broadleaf trees. Walk through a forest and look at the shape of the trees. The elms in particular will be these lovely wine glass shape, the tall wine glass, rather than the wide brandy balloon shape. Other species often the informal broom plan with 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 branching, where the 2 and 4 are really sub-trunks, and the 8 and higher are gently arching up and out.

Interesting note, elms will usually have the main single trunk be moderately long, each subsequent segment is shorter. In maples especially the 2,4,8 etc plan, the first segment is short, then the second segment is long, the each segment afterward is progressively shorter.

Take a drive, walk or otherwise get outside and look at trees, and you will see what I mean. Look at the deciduous broadleaf trees, there are far more brooms (especially informal brooms) out there than any other form.
 
Messages
4,436
Likes
7,096
Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
#10
@Lazylightningny -
Exbury azalea have a significant amount of North American native deciduous azalea in their background. They are complex hybrids, so blanket assertions are ''iffy'' but there are some traits that carry through.

Exbury hybrids, like azaleas from the Northern Lights series, tend to produce a branch with a very short first internode, followed by an extremely long internode or two, then just before the end of that season's growth a series of short internodes. This uneven length of internode makes them difficult for bonsai. Satsuki azalea have a nice, fairly evenly spaced, medium length to short internode. I think a broom is one good way to handle a deciduous azalea. But you will have to keep an eye on internode length. There will be times when you will have to cut back all the current season's growth to just that first short internode.

As @0soyoung said: Pruning right after blooming is the time tested best time to do most of the pruning needed to train azalea. Pretty much most of your work on an azalea is done right after bloom, including routine repotting. Major styling, and repotting where you are doing aggressive root work should be done in late winter, early spring, but this will completely eliminate flowering.
In late summer through autumn into winter you can do your wiring. At the same time you go through and prune out whorls of three or more branches, bringing the number down to 2. Everywhere there was a flower bud there will be a whorl of branches, often 5 or more. Bring these down to 3 or 2. Two is the preferred, but if you are not certain which direction will be needed its okay to keep 3 until it becomes clear which branch won't be needed. If you keep 4 or more the whorl will be unsightly and possibly could form reverse taper.
 
Messages
1,517
Likes
956
Location
Downstate New York, Zone 6b
USDA Zone
6b
#11
I always thought those brooms with a ring of horizontal branches looked unnatural. Looked artificial. Broom is a very natural shape for elms, maples and many deciduous broadleaf trees. Walk through a forest and look at the shape of the trees. The elms in particular will be these lovely wine glass shape, the tall wine glass, rather than the wide brandy balloon shape. Other species often the informal broom plan with 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 branching, where the 2 and 4 are really sub-trunks, and the 8 and higher are gently arching up and out.

Interesting note, elms will usually have the main single trunk be moderately long, each subsequent segment is shorter. In maples especially the 2,4,8 etc plan, the first segment is short, then the second segment is long, the each segment afterward is progressively shorter.

Take a drive, walk or otherwise get outside and look at trees, and you will see what I mean. Look at the deciduous broadleaf trees, there are far more brooms (especially informal brooms) out there than any other form.
Could you elaborate on the branching plans, or point me in a direction that I can read up on it?
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom