Witches Broom

A term in the nursery trade to mean a “genetic mutation’. This is a mutation that occurs from environmental factors, chemical triggers and health factors in the plant that stimulates a mutation of the parent plant. It is how many new varieties of plants are found. These “witches brooms are grafted back onto parent stock and many times the genetic mutation takes on the mutation and grows on to become a new plant.

This year in the garden I had the surprise to find one of my trees exhibit witches brooms on several branches. Not all of them but three of them. The tree is a normal acer buergerianum “trifidum”. A common trident maple.

So this is the plant. It is a trident maple that I dug at Steve DaSilva’s field. I have had the tree for a decade and never did anything to it. This past year. 2019, I took the top off as a layer. I cut the layers free a couple months ago and they leafed out. Suddenly, this one developed three witches brooms.

I have circled the three exhibitions of the broom.

On closer inspection it is easy to see the much different shape of the emerging leaves.

The leaves exhibit all the traits of the Mino Yatsubusa maple with it’s long middle lobe looking like a hand flipping the bird.

Check out this close up and compare it to one of the normal leaves on the same tree.

I will keep an eye on it and see how it develops thru the next couple weeks. It could be gone by May?

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