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Mike Heim, of Hayward, Wis., shows off a witches’ broom collected earlier this month in the woods north of Duluth. The brooms are genetic mutations in which the needles only grow at one-tenth to one-twentieth the rate of growth of the trees they come from. Dan Kraker | MPR Photo

Plant lovers hunt northern Minnesota for ‘witches brooms’

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By Dan Kraker, MPR News 91.3 FM

DULUTH – On a frigid January morning, Rich Larson scales a big tamarack tree, breaking off branches as he climbs towards his target.

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