[97 Days] 1st Success: Air-Layering Japanese Black Pine


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Bali, Indonesia
Hello Bonsai Nutters,

I would like to share my experience with air-layering (AL) a Japanese Black Pine (JBP).

This specimen is a result of my first successful attempt at air-layering a JBP.

Prior to this Air Layer, of all the references found on the Internet, the general accepted timing for most Japanese Black Pines air-layers were either 3-4 months, 6 months, 1 year or 2 years.

I have been searching for YouTube videos ( <10 till date) on Air-Layering JBPs since 2020, and information online. The most preferred way is to slice a plastic pot into 1/2, and attach the pot to the air-layer location securely, and use bonsai soil as a medium. Water when needed.

Many experienced Bonsai cultivators have stated "do not waste your time on air-layering a JBP" as the failure rates are high, and somehow this impression of "impossible" has been imprinted upon me until July of this year.

That said, I was ready for air-layering failures.
Rather than just chopping off the selected areas, I decided to just give air-layering a go.

[Still Attached to the branch]





Location: Bali, Indonesia
Date of Air-Layer: 10 April 2022
Date of Removal & Repot: 15 July 2022
Total No. of Days: 97

- Grafting knife (alcohol swabbed pior)
- Plastic capsule (transparent & black)
- Clonex Gel (Purple)
- Spaghum Moss (Soaked in boiling water prior, and cooled down)

Upon cutting a 2-3 cm ring where I have chosen my air-layer position,
I use a Q-Tip to scoop a generous amount of Clonex Purple Gel,
and apply right at the top, on the exposed wood (cabium removed), and at the bottom.

I scoop up a generous amount of spaghum moss with each 1/2 capsule, and position in between the the AL position.
and I proceed to secure the capsule with wires.

One can use (a long) normal plastic bag to wrap around the air-layer with cable ties.
Tie securely at the bottom, Tie loosely at the top (so that you can water from the top if the spaghum moss dries out).

I had a failed attempted with another air-layer for I choose an apex that was growing too vigourously. (Air Layer on 10th April 2022 too).
Sadly, that vigorous one began to dry out under full sun, and sadly no roots appeared at all after 5 weeks.

The above successful example is taken from the 1st branch from the bottom trunk as it was stretching out too much.
In fact, this successful air-layer is from the weakest JBP in my garden, no direct sun whatsoever, and I am surprised the roots was engulfing the spaghum moss around the capsule faster than expected.

I have 2 more Air Layered JBPs which I did on the 7th May 2022. This time, I stopped using capsule for fear of drying out too much.
So I used the traditional method of securing the air layer + sphagum moss with normal plastic bag and cable ties.

As of 18th July 2022, I had noticed very thick roots stubs appearing.

As these 2 selected JBPs are significantly taller, and thicker than this one, I have decided to allow the roots to grow stronger.
Chopping sometime in 2 weeks, beginning of August 2022.

Happy Growing and Air-Layering everyone...

Sending Green Vibes to all of you ~~~


Imperial Masterpiece
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Yackandandah, Australia
Congratulations in rising above the naysayers and trying this. Layering JBP has always been possible. Time to roots varies with age of wood, health of the tree, local conditions just as it does for all other species but JBP do layer.
Hope we see more of these, if only to suppress the previous false info.


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Normandy, France
+1 congrats and thx for sharing ! 👍 I'm impressed by the size and amount of roots 😲
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