Broom style Zelkova

Gnome

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Here are a few pictures of a broom that I have been working on this year. I did my chop on this tree earlier than is usually suggested, the first of March. The first pic is how it looked 3 months later on the first of June. The second was taken just under a week ago (Oct 25). Its amazing how much growth these things will put on in a single season. It even has been pruned a bit, earlier in the year in order to even out the thickening of the five primary branches, and more recently I brought the shoots back a bit to make winter storage a little easier.

In the interest of full disclosure the first pic was actually taken in 2005, I foolishly damaged the tree that year and was forced to start again in 2006 with exactly the same process. I neglected to get pictures early this year so I am using the old ones for purposes of illustration.

Norm
 

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Bonsai Nut

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Very nice! I like the three branch placement but you are going to have to accelerate ramification versus if you had four or five main branches. It is a strong tree if you can prune it like that year after year :)

I notice the lower trunk is not optimal. I assume you are planning on air layering at some point?
 

Gnome

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BonsaiNut,

There are five primary branches, just not easy to make out in the picture. Yes, the trunk is too tall and has a nasty curve, not to mention that ugly knot of roots. I will indeed be layering it off at some point in the future. I wanted to utilize the energy stored in the roots to fuel the formation of the canopy first though.

Norm
 

Bonsai Nut

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Gnome - if you are still out there could you post some new photos of this tree?
 

Gnome

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BonsaiNut,

There is not much to show at the moment. A few weeks ago I cut the five primary branches back and am currently waiting for this years shoots to form. In my area things are just beginning to green up outside. I'll post a picture when it is a little further along.

Norm
 

grog

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I've seen the V-notch cut as part of creating broom styles in other places and that's what I did with a couple chinese elms that I chopped way back. Now I'm curious why this method is used. The thought that comes to mind is to allow room for the swelling that will take place with the new growth but that's just my theory.
 

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Grog,

I did it for much the same reason that you did, I saw others had and duplicated their efforts. I have given this some thought though and have come to the conclusion that for the style I chose I could have just as well chopped it flat. I think the primary advantage of the V-chop is to ease the transition into a more natural split, where the trunk is encouraged to repeatedly bifurcate.

Someone also had the opinion that by making the V-chop you open up more surface area of cambium from which new branches arise.

There is considerable swelling that I am not pleased with but I did not bind the chop site as is usually suggested, this is how I damaged the tree the first year. The second time around I was a bit gun-shy about binding. Perhaps in the future I'll try another and be more careful.

How are your Elms coming along? Did you just do the chops this year?

Norm
 

grog

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Thanks for your insight Mr. Norm. The natural split, increased surface area, or perhaps a combination of them makes more sense to me than what I was thinking.

I did the same treatment on two nursery bought chinese elms which were rather tall but had pitiful trunk sizes relative to their height. I just recently chopped them so we'll have to wait and see how they respond.

I'm not sure what you're referring to when you refer to "binding the chop site". I've read quite a bit but don't recall hearing about this technique, could you explain please?
 

Gnome

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Grog,

The natural split, increased surface area, or perhaps a combination of them
There seems to be a bit of dichotomy between these two concepts. If you desire the smooth transition into a twin trunk the increased surface area will be of no benefit. But if you want the style where all branches emerge from the trunk at the same height then there may be an advantage to having more cambium exposed. But since I had far more buds than I could actually use perhaps this is not really an issue either.

Binding is done to reduce the swelling that you noted can occur at the chop site. I was too aggressive when I bound mine and damaged the young shoots. Here is a link that explains the process a bit more.

http://www.bonsaisite.com/broomelm.html

Norm
 

grog

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Very informative, thanks for the link.
 

Gnome

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OK, heres the update on this one. I had intended to allow new branches to emerge from the bark (sides) of the primary branches in order to promote a more natural appearance, but the tree did not cooperate. Rather than bud from the bark, all new buds emerged from the callouses at the bases of the five primary branches. This caused me to repeat the same procedure as last year, removing all lower buds in order to force the apex. This is why it took so long, right on schedule with last year. Buds were well formed by the end of May and developed fairly quickly after that.

I allowed three new shoots to remain on each of the primary branches for a total of 15 secondary branches. I just did the first round of pruning of the secondary branches today. From here on out I think things will progress in a less rigid, more natural manner. Here are two recent photos, the first is from May,25 and the second from June,04.

Norm
 

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Bonsai Nut

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Thanks for the update Gnome. I am trying to create a stubby broom style from the stump of my last air-layer. The issue for me is that I only got three branches to pop from the cut scar :(. I am going to let it grow out a bit to start the healing process before I start cutting for final shape.
 

Gnome

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BonsaiNut,

As I noted earlier in this thread I botched this tree the first year (2005) and in essence started anew last year. If you are not satisfied with your results perhaps you could let it grow unchecked this year and start again next year.

Norm
 

John Hill

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Gnome,
Nice job indeed!! But IMHO you need to keep it chopped back and don't let it get away from you. Let it grow out a bit then prune back to two leaves or so. Just to see what you end up with ;)

A Friend in bonsai
John
 

imholte

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I have found it best to let the branches grow out unhindered all season. This will allow the branches to fatten resulting in thicker branches and better taper, and when you cut it back the response from the tree is greater and you have more buds to choose from.
 

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John,

Nice job indeed!! But IMHO you need to keep it chopped back and don't let it get away from you.
Thanks for the encouragement. Yes I did make the first round of cuts this year, just as you suggested, down to two leaves.

imholte,

I have found it best to let the branches grow out unhindered all season.
That is how I managed it last year. I let the new shoots grow the entire season and cut them back this spring. This got them off to a strong start. This year, now that the primary branches are established, I feel comfortable being a little more aggressive with my pruning.

Naka recommends in BT1 to cutting back in autumn and leaving the center shoot to balance the trunk.
There seems to be more than one way to approach this style, Harry Harrington illustrates both styles here, scroll down about 1/3 of the page. I do have some saplings that I intend to grow in the style you suggest.

Thanks to you both.

Norm
 

plant_dr

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Any updates? I have a zelkova that I needs something done to it and I could use some inspiration!! Thanks, Zach
 

Gnome

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Any updates? I have a zelkova that I needs something done to it and I could use some inspiration!! Thanks, Zach
Since I last posted about this tree it has been layered to eliminate the unsightly curve at the bottom of the trunk. It was layered in 2008 and has spent the year or so since then simply recovering. I have not done much pruning to it this year but expect to able to cut it back next spring and begin refining it in earnest. It's currently in a plastic bonsai pot that is on the large side but it will be some time before it sees a decent pot.

Norm
 

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Thanks for the update! It's progressing!
 

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