Starting Over with a Mature Broom Elm

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Starting Over with a Mature Broom Elm

Post  AndyRutledge on Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:15 pm

After growing this elm (Ulmus parvifolia) from a finger-sized sapling to a semi-mature specimen, I've grown tired of some of the flaws in the structure and decided to start over.

Here (below) was the tree in early 2009. Nice silhouette and general appearance, but the details are bad. Note that many of the primary branches are too straight and too long before secondary branches appear. (20"/50cm tall)




So I cut it back and started over in mid 2010.




Here (below) is the tree today. I've only just begun to define the basic structure, but there is a much better foundation of secondary branches. Much will likely change in the coming years, but this will be a better start than what came before. The unwired, long shoot in the back will be used as a thread graft in the spring.



It's hard to so something like this--at least it was for me--but the results will ultimately be better and certainly easier to live with.

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Re: Starting Over with a Mature Broom Elm

Post  pozzana on Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:22 pm

nice job!

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starting over with a elm

Post  moyogijohn on Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:53 pm

WOW ANDY,,,You really have guts!!!!i could never have done that but the tree is looking really good..good job take care john

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Re: Starting Over with a Mature Broom Elm

Post  RKatzin on Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:55 pm

Hi Andy, thank you for this post. I'm just now realizing that trees I've grown need major revision. They grew according to what I knew, but that has changed over the years and looking at them now I can see the flaws. There's nothing to do except drop back and punt. Very encouraging! Thanks again. Were you able to propagate any of the pieces you removed? A few look like good starters if they were air layered off.

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Re: Starting Over with a Mature Broom Elm

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:07 pm

Andy,

I had to really look to see why you started over, and I am impressed that you did.

Is this a - "real" ulmus parvifolia or a southern Chinese elm ?

How is the heartwood standing up to being exposed? I am asking because I have a southern elm and the heartwood is slowly decaying or rather continuing to decay. It is a pain.

Thanks for the inspiration, and encouragement, as I have a much lesser specimen to re-do as well.
Khaimraj

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Re: Starting Over with a Mature Broom Elm

Post  Dustin Mann on Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:17 pm

Thanks for posting the sequence on elm. First that root nebari has great uniformity. I have a couple chinese import elms(probably over yrs thru Miami Trop.) and usually you get large root opposite trunk chop(S curve) have to split. Your decision to start over only way for tree with great potential to get better and better. Check out the broom elms from Taiwan shows. Yours can get better over the yrs(3-Cool I too fought great canopy broom retusa fig with no primary branch taper(my shopping mall fig from 70s) There is a sequence in BCI magazine Volume 43 No.3 July 2004 and then on Jerry Meislik sitewww.bonsaihunk.us 'How I grow' after a trunk chop. I know the feeling, you build it up....then few yrs. later have to chase back,espec. if you want more naturalistic style as opposed to conifer pads. I would suggest some heavy wire on two primary(twist it up-down,for.back) before worry as much about moving secondar/terit. branches. With that beautiful trunk(dead area) move the eye up thru aged branches so that distant look is canopy then further inspection is branch movement. Dustin Mann Very Happy Very Happy

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Starting Over with a Mature Broom Elm

Post  Guest on Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:34 pm

A very brave move Andy and admirable work. Very Happy. The roots look a little heavy though.


Last edited by will baddeley on Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:32 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Wrong name..)

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Re: Starting Over with a Mature Broom Elm

Post  dorothy7774 on Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:59 pm

Are you planning to do any root work, Andy?

-dorothy

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Re: Starting Over with a Mature Broom Elm

Post  AndyRutledge on Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:35 pm

Thanks all for your kind and thought-provoking comments.

@Khaimraj I'm afraid you have me at a loss. I'm not sure I understand the difference between a "real" U. parvifolia and the Southern Ch. elm. Care to elaborate for me and others here? Thanks for asking! As for the deadwood, I don't have much problem with it, but I do treat with lime sulfur each year. Of the many Ch. elms I've had over the years, I find that with large trunk scars/hollows they typically go ahead and rot all the way through to the soil despite any effort. I find this does not hurt the health of the trees at all. I had one that was large and entirely hollow, with a 1/4"-thick shell for a trunk. Did well for years (before I sold it)

@RKatzin There were likely plenty of good layer or cutting opportunities on this one, but I didn't save anything on this operation. I don't have a shortage of elm cutting/layer material around. Smile

Kind regards,
Andy

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Re: Starting Over with a Mature Broom Elm

Post  AndyRutledge on Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:43 pm

@Dustin Mann
Thanks much for the observations and information. Yes, I'm a fan of the many outstanding, large Taiwanese specimens. and Jerry does very good work. These almost make me want to keep tropicals (almost) Smile . As for the rootage on this elm, I was able to cultivate the 360-radial roots by growing the sapling in the ground for 4 years. Yields much better results than the typical import characteristics you mentioned. I really hate those. Anyway, this specimen is meant to be a somewhat more hoary, oak-style specimen rather than a fastidiously-structured one.

Here's a couple of very early photos. You'll see that I had to thread-graft to create the #1 left branch (where the arrow is pointing in the r.h. picture)


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Re: Starting Over with a Mature Broom Elm

Post  AndyRutledge on Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:49 pm

Hi Dorothy,

I do plan to do some root work, as the current primary roots are overlarge and coarse. I plan to use a combination of approach grafts and thread grafts to impose some surface-root ramification. This work will have to be delayed for just over a year, though, as I have to grow the seedlings to use in that work. I'm not overly optimistic about the aesthetics of the result, though, as this species tends to have thick, fibrous phloem-to-cambium layers, making scars coarse themselves. Perhaps years will repair that damage. I have time. :)

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Re: Starting Over with a Mature Broom Elm

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:00 pm

Andy,

thanks for replying. For years, all I knew about was Ulmus parvifolia, and that they would not grow without a winter's rest. Then I started hearing about elms that could grow in the tropics. So I wondered if yours was a Northern variety ?

No big thing, just the past meeting the present in my head.

I have a hard time with decayed trunks. I have one elm with such a situation, and have to resist the urge to fill it with cement or other. Just a personality defect.
Khaimraj


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Re: Starting Over with a Mature Broom Elm

Post  jrodriguez on Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:37 pm

Khaimraj,

Ulmus parvifolia, Celtis sinensis, can grow perfectly in tropical and subtropical climates.

Kind regards,

Jose

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Re: Starting Over with a Mature Broom Elm

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:56 pm

Jose,

thanks for that. Would you know how to grow Celtis chinesis from seed ?
Until.
Khaimraj

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Re: Starting Over with a Mature Broom Elm

Post  bwaynef on Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:18 pm

Andy, that took some stones. I'm sure that the years will reveal that this was for the better. I look forward to seeing this one continue to develop.

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