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Broom types (9 Replies)

Posted February 18, 2014 at 4:48 pm

I understand that there are 3 types of conifer brooms? 1. Genetic, 2. Viral , and 3. Parasitic. I’m wondering about the value of each for propagation purposes? I’ve always shied away from the parasitic (dwarf mistletoe) brooms although I have seen them by the thousands. Is there any horticultural value to this type? Is it safe to say that only brooms lacking obvious fruiting bodies are safe to collect from? Also are there brooms that produce cones or do newer cultivars arise from propagation of the actual broom?

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Posted February 18, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Hi Bill. Although I consider myself only to be a novice broomer, I don’t mind adding my two cents in my assertion that brooms that occur through disease shouldn’t be propagated because of the risk of spreading the disease to other healthy trees. There is the question however of whether the genetic alteration that caused the broom mutation is the result of some disease and that the broom may actually be disease free after some time.

I collected scions from a broom on a Pseudotsuga menziesii that the homeowner insists was struck by lightning, thus initiating the mutation. This is obviously a “safe” broom to collect. I consider brooms that create fruiting bodies (cones) to be exceptionally valuable because the genetics of the seed are potentially altered and can produce strange cultivars in their own right.

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Posted February 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Thanks David; I knew all the P Marianna brooms around were too good to be true! Does the dwarf Mistletoe affect only picea? I’ll continue to monitor other brooms and hopefully find something with cones? I’ve never seen cones on a broom so I’m wondering if they are quite recognizable or very hard to find.

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Posted February 23, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Just wondering about this large (about 20 ft across) pinus strobus broom? I’ve found 3 like this. Might something rare come out of any seedlings of seed from them and has anyone ever scoured the vicinity of these to find mutated seedlings. I’m thinking of road trip back to NS to have a look at the general area.

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Posted July 28, 2014 at 10:27 am

Thought I’d post a few pics of brooms on Abies balsamea taken 7/14 in Argentia,Newfoundland, Canada. These brooms are quite common & according to an article by Todd Boland of the Memorial University Botanic Garden, St. John’s, Newfoundland are disease caused & as such are not able to be propagated. The underside of the needles appear to be covered with a pollen-like substance which I assume to be some form of rust. Pics 1& 3 are typical of these brooms, Pic 2 shows growth from the parent limb. nearly all of the broom growth is of this yellow coloration. Quite impressive….

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Posted August 5, 2014 at 8:25 pm

I’ve noticed a lot of theses in NB and NS as well. They don’t last long. Here is a pic of an Abies balsamea broom I just discovered in New Brunswick. It is of a different type I believe. High in the tree and in full sun. I hope to graft it this winter. It looks very healthy. (as Brooms go)

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Posted August 6, 2014 at 7:47 am

that’s a really nice broom, Bill.

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Posted August 6, 2014 at 9:09 am

Its right along the highway so very easy to access . I’ll keep you posted as to how it grafts etc. Interesting that its beside a power pole and transformer?????

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Posted August 6, 2014 at 4:49 pm

keep me in mind if you find yourself with extra scionwood. ūüėČ

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Posted August 6, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Bill, that NB broom is larger than any that I noted in Newfoundland & seems to show new growth this year which could be a good indicator of health. I’d be interested to hear if it grafts well for you. Hopefully I will be able to get back to NFLD in the next year or two to check out the health of the brooms in the pictures. Thanks for your post.

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