Creating a Broom Style Bonsai

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By Curt Drury

Here is the victim.

This tree has been in training for 3 years.  I bought it when it was as thick as a pencil.  It is a variegated Chinese elm.

I have been trying to develop the trunk and roots.  I lost the top of this tree last year. This ruined the original design I had chosen.  You can see the scar where the top died.  Also in the next two pictures you can see that I have terrible scars on one side, and reverse taper.  The trunk is thicker at the top than at the bottom.  This trunk is ruined. 

 

 

 

I thought about it for a while, and decided to change the design to a broom style.  This is accomplished by cutting the trunk off in with a flat cut or a V shaped cut, wrapping the wound in raffia, and growing new branches.  The following illustrations show the progression of a broom style tree being developed.

First, a trunk chop. 

The raffia makes the branches grow up at the wound site.

Pinch the ends back to create ramification.

If all goes well, you'll end up with a nice bonsai tree.

 

Hold your breath and lets get started.

I placed the cut below the reverse taper. 

After the cut.

The whole top of the tree gets discarded.  Say hello to my dog Opal, and goodbye to about 3 years of work.

Speaking of three years, you can count the rings in this next picture.  Chinese elms grow like crazy in the ground or in a large container. 

Next, soak the raffia in water.  Raffia is a natural fiber available in craft stores.

Wrap the wound tight and tie it off.

Spring is here, and the trunk is starting to bud out.


Mid-Summer the same year.  Raffia still in place.

 I included a pen in this shot to give you some idea of scale.

 

As they have grown in, I have started to select the ones to keep as the new branches for my broom style tree.

 

 

Below is a fully developed broom style bonsai for reference.