Kiwi’s Chinese Elm Broom

KiwiPlantGuy

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Hi all,
I thought I would learn a new skill/art form in creating a broom style. I have read up heaps and now made a start to this below.
I would like a bit/lot more girth in my trunk, and want to experience how to build a broom etc.
Pictures are pretty self-explanatory, and apart from showing the drilled out heartwood centre (thank you @Adair M ), most is shown below.
This is early Spring
5A401F00-890D-409B-83DA-E57604C9ECD2.jpeg
CCD7F115-0484-4C1E-9415-EA54FC25BB5F.jpegD61A8166-9F2D-43E8-A9E1-B9A044FEF8A5.jpeg

The next stage I looked at the green mess to choose some sub-trunks which would be evenly spaced and from there, I have selected 5 sub-trunks with 2 being strong and other 3 being weaker . And rubbed /cut off all the rest.
FA50E9A9-11F6-48BE-A222-3DA23D1395B3.jpeg06FA5868-0DFD-4C60-B2E7-5CF20243221F.jpeg6FA8ED07-05D8-41A0-A4C0-4244C2E57A50.jpeg

Maybe 2-3 weeks later, today is my latest photos.
8A8224A4-D577-4B2B-909E-F411E8E0822A.jpeg

I feel that I have a made a good start but I am unsure how to go forward.
1. Do I wire the 5 trunks?
2. Do I let the trunks grow all season?
3. Do I let the trunks grow a second season to thicken the main trunk?
4. How long do I leave the hose clamp on? (Until it cuts it I guess, is that means it would swell inwards from there).
And other questions I can’t think of ?.
I am tagging a few people who have helped me via their threads/comments so I can get some help here please.
@Adair M @Mellow Mullet @markyscott ( to start me off). Thank you guys and others for sharing your thoughts.
Charles
 

markyscott

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Yes - the shoots look strong enough to wire. You can go ahead and do it now. Focus on the angle that the new shoots exit the trunk - this is your shot to get that right. Do not cut the growing tips and allow the shoots to continue to extend. You can cut back later in the season after they thicken a bit more.

S
 

M. Frary

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Plus you will only need to put wire on the bottom portion of your new leads since you will be cutting them back later on.
Also keep a close eye on that wire because elms will grow fast and before you know it you have scars.
Check at about 2 weeks.
 

Adair M

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I agree with the above, and do keep the V shape. That is the branches should grow up. Don’t “wire them down. The key is getting the angle right just where they emerge from the main trunk.

You can pad the hose clamp with rubber.

Or, replace it with raffia or string wrapped around.

Again, watch it doesn’t cut in. You’re not trying to compress the top, just direct the swelling inward rather than outward.

Looking good!
 

KiwiPlantGuy

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I agree with the above, and do keep the V shape. That is the branches should grow up. Don’t “wire them down. The key is getting the angle right just where they emerge from the main trunk.

You can pad the hose clamp with rubber.

Or, replace it with raffia or string wrapped around.

Again, watch it doesn’t cut in. You’re not trying to compress the top, just direct the swelling inward rather than outward.

Looking good!
Hi Adair M,
Thank you for your comments.
I will definitely try to add some thin rubber to the hose clamp, so yep the rubber helpful ?.
Charles
 

KiwiPlantGuy

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Thank you all for your replies.
I have had an “unskilled” moment this afternoon doing my weekly watering - as the Sunmer so far has been awful. While watering I knocked off one of my sub trunks ??☹ I wasn’t careful enough obviously.
F271A7EE-3031-40AE-8960-0B1610C61055.jpeg
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So, is it wrong to have an even number of trunks?
I guess learning how to wire these and there might be another casualty or 2, and a restart after Xmas or next year.
I have noticed that when examining these sub trunks they are really wobbly which makes me real nervous to try to wire etc.
How do I anchor the wire on these so not to lose another sub trunk?
Also the wood feels quite lignified like I have missed my boat to straighten these up etc.

Hmm, I do have a 2nd attempt which is a week or 2 behind the 1st one which might get the wiring practice first.
6B38E488-63A9-4C05-A990-C8984E8588FA.jpeg

Charles
 

KiwiPlantGuy

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Thanks Mike, did i understand correctly that kiwi also drilled into the cut to create a hollow? what would be the concept for that?
Hi BubblePopScott,
The concept of the drilled hole (remove internal heartwood) is that when the tree gets growing and the sub-trunks start to thicken (gain girth) the tree can’t swell outward re the clamp so swells inwards. This I believe creates a clean trunk line from main trunk to the secondary trunks and so on.
Hope that explains things better,
Charles
 

KiwiPlantGuy

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The clamp helps keep the swelling down and gets the branches growing up at the correct angle.
Hi M.Frary,
When I try to wire these brooms, am I trying to keep them growing more vertical (angle straighter out of the trunk)?
Charles
 

M. Frary

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Hi M.Frary,
When I try to wire these brooms, am I trying to keep them growing more vertical (angle straighter out of the trunk)?
Charles
Yes. What you're trying to achieve is to get the leads to come out of the cut at a straight angle. If you just let them go by themselves they will have a "belly" before they turn up straight.
 

TomB

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KiwiPlantGuy

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Hi all,
Small update on the progress here.
The clamp thing might have worked with one but not the other.
Tree 1.
577B933E-4601-4932-872F-C37C98F9E637.jpeg70050133-45CC-4D76-9F72-717F1CB4B1D1.jpeg

Tree 2. Slower coming out of Winter. (Mid Summer here
AB52C3DC-0285-415B-86E9-2BF59D96691F.jpeg05F6F4BB-F2B5-498C-838C-3F5360413E1E.jpeg

My assessment so far is that tree 1 didn’t have the hose clamp high enough, and maybe I didn’t drill out enough heartwood. So I might try again next Spring, or just go with #2 tree.
Questions to help the learning proceed -
Is tree 1 a lost cause?
How long do I leave the clamp on tree 2?
Another year, or wait and assess at Winter first?

Comments appreciated thank you.
Charles
 

KiwiPlantGuy

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A couple of months later and Autumn is almost here.
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Just 2 questions going into Winter and next Spring.
Do I cut the new growth on the subtrunks back to 1 inch or so from the original chop?
If I was to leave the growth on the subtrunks to grow for another season would I get trunk girth or would it just be bad idea?
Thanks all for your help ?
Charles
 
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If you want more girth in the branches leave them on for a little longer, you can always cut back later. If they were mine I'd leave it growing for some time and then start cutting back, building tight internoded growth from there. I'd also wire the branches as they are a little outwards on the clamped one to start off with a little more spreading branch structure.

But it really all depends on what your future vision is! How are the rootspreads coming on by the way?
 

KiwiPlantGuy

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If you want more girth in the branches leave them on for a little longer, you can always cut back later. If they were mine I'd leave it growing for some time and then start cutting back, building tight internoded growth from there. I'd also wire the branches as they are a little outwards on the clamped one to start off with a little more spreading branch structure.

But it really all depends on what your future vision is! How are the rootspreads coming on by the way?
Hi,
Thank you for your comments. I was wondering about leaving these alone for another season, in confusion land really.
As for the roots, not too bad I remember but will need flat box and/or ground layer soon I guess?
Charles
 

Shibui

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I would probably leave the branches for another season. this will not only thicken the main trunk but will also thicken the branches to bring them closer to matching the trunk. Currently just thin sticks growing from a thicker trunk. Should look like real thick branches (almost trunks) merging into a solid, stable base.
Being elm it does not matter how long you leave them. After pruning elms will sprout all over, even from bare wood.
 
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Question about brooms. I've noticed that a lot of people let them grow, then cut back at the end of the growing season, then repeat. Why not just let them grow freely until they get close to the desired thickness, THEN cut back for ramification?

This is a genuine question as I am working on a Chinese Elm broom as we speak. I wire the branches to grow outward, but other than that I let the tree grow...
 

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