When is a broom not a broom

leatherback

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Yeah,it was an odd discussion and -we were a group of students- really had to push to get it clear he really used broom and zelkova as synonyms!
 

Adair M

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what if i told you that this was an oak tree,


you will find older specimens that look like this too. again, its a common form for the majority of deciduous in the landscape.

most deciduous trees start out looking like 'broom's or some sort of variation

as they age they usually grow more trunks/subtrunks in most cases right.

in reality, the classic broom image, is that of a 'younger' tree.

again, i can see why 'informal broom' could be used to describe the majority of deciduous trees in the landscape.
No, that’s an oak. And a relatively young one at that.

Certain oaks can make brooms, both classic and center line brooms. Oaks are more varied in their growth habits. Whereas most elms (Zelkova included) are similar to each other.
 

Adair M

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To make the whole discussion more complex.. In my school a Japanese master joins classes every once in a while. In spring we discussed the broom style as I had the same question as discussed here. He did not understand the question. (lost in translation). So I pulled an image of an old multi-trunked oak. And asked whether that would be considered a broom. His answer: No, that is not a broom. It is an oak.

Confused?
Yes me too.

We continued and at a certain point he came out with.. broom = zelkova. Only zelkova can become broom. So somewhere in the back of his mind was a direct link to species too. It was an interesting discussion but I still am not at a point where I can decide the difference between an informal opright with scundary trunks, informal brooms.
I think you could broaden out the “Zelkova only” rule to invclude other elms. I’ve seen some maples grown in the broom form.
 

Clorgan

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This is an interesting thread! Acquired this berberis - I'm interested, would it be classified as a broom, well a broom in training? I know it doesn't yet have lots of smaller branches yet, and it does have a main trunk that runs to the apex, but the branches are diagonal?

Just interested really, always something new to learn on this forum! 😊
 

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Adair M

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This is an interesting thread! Acquired this berberis - I'm interested, would it be classified as a broom, well a broom in training? I know it doesn't yet have lots of smaller branches yet, and it does have a main trunk that runs to the apex, but the branches are diagonal?

Just interested really, always something new to learn on this forum! 😊
Not really a broom, there’s two heavy upward branches. A good broom would have lots of thinner branches.
 

Clorgan

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Not really a broom, there’s two heavy upward branches. A good broom would have lots of thinner branches.
Yeah I thought that, broom just seems to me a bit of a blurry/unclear style, and it seems from this thread that others agree haha
 

BobbyLane

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This is an interesting thread! Acquired this berberis - I'm interested, would it be classified as a broom, well a broom in training? I know it doesn't yet have lots of smaller branches yet, and it does have a main trunk that runs to the apex, but the branches are diagonal?

Just interested really, always something new to learn on this forum! 😊
berberis isnt well suited because it doesnt ramify very well.


Though Berberis are not recognised as a classic bonsai subject.

hope that helps!
 

Clorgan

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berberis isnt well suited because it doesnt ramify very well.


Though Berberis are not recognised as a classic bonsai subject.

hope that helps!
Makes sense, thank you! 😊
 

baron

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I can see the point Bobby is trying to make, but I was under the impression that on a broom style tree all the primary branches would be starting at the same position on the trunk and are more or less equal in size and or thickness.
Like the Zelkova shown before or the trunk chop elm example @markyscott made with the clamp method.

If the branches don't start at the same level on the trunk or a when the primary branches aren't equal in size or thickness it's not a broom, but indeed more leaning towards naturalistic deciduous?

Acer Mikawa broom

85e973980ca7a4827ae25aa35571a654.jpeg

Acer Kashima naturalistic
148a2fd795abaeb4cafb1230aa7d9939.jpeg
de59d88cb1ed760a5bd27453543a6c9b.jpeg
 
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Adair M

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I can see the point Bobby is trying to make, but I was under the impression that on a broom style tree all the primary branches would be starting at the same position on the trunk and are more or less equal in size and or thickness.
Like the Zelkova shown before or the trunk chop elm example @markyscott made with the clamp method.

If the branches don't start at the same level on the trunk or a when the primary branches aren't equal in size or thickness it's not a broom, but indeed more leaning towards naturalistic deciduous?

Acer Mikawa broom

View attachment 312322

Acer Kashima naturalistic
View attachment 312328
View attachment 312327
Not exactly. As I posted before, this tree is considered to be a “broom”, but it’s a “center line broom”:

ED39C2A7-893B-461F-B048-C324689870A5.jpeg
 

Adair M

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What would you say makes this different from a formal upright ?
First off, “broom” is a sub-category of formal upright. So, it IS a “formal upright”. Why? Straight trunk, and the apex is centered over the nebari, and there’s no movement.

“Broom” denotes the extreme ramification and density of the branches and twigs. So that there’s minimal, if any, negative space in the canopy.

There can be the “classic” brooms where the straight trunk divides into multiple branches, or the “center line” brooms where the branches start coming off the trunk, but are all small and undistinguished.

Other formal uprights are characterized by the “left, right, back” branch formation, usually associated with pines and conifers.

Once you wrap your head around the fact that “broom” is a sub-style of formal upright, it becomes less complicated.
 

coh

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@BobbyLane , thanks for posting so many interesting and inspirational photos! What a great reference. Many terrific trees, regardless of whether one wants to call them "brooms" or whether they fit neatly into existing standard classifications.
 
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