air layer prunus mume

jaycraig

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so I'm working at a client’s house and noticed they have a prunus mume. i was thinking about asking if i could air layer a branch off, so my question is does the normal time of year (early spring) to apply air layer goes for this or is it in late fall/ early winter since the buds are about to flower

also does anyone know exactly what type of prunus mume is this?
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Wires_Guy_wires

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I had a ben chi dori that looked somewhat similar.
I air layered it after it leafed out in spring. Took about 2 months to get roots.
But both the air layer and the rootstock never leafed out again after that year. They never officially died, but after a year without foliage (and still being green and alive on the inside) I tossed both.
 

Canada Bonsai

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@Sputnik 184 has succeeded with air layering Prunus mume and may have something to add.

The books say it is possible, and most of them recommend May/June. The one attached here says "June, when the sprout stops growing".

Here is one being executed in November 2021 (see comments), so it is still too early to know if it was successful. November strikes me as an odd time of year to be trying this, but who knows:

 

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Brian Van Fleet

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Given the time of year and the location? Lets see Massachussets, middle of December, assuming the picture is recent as in the last few days. Which cultivar of cherry blooms at this time of year? Did I miss part of the explanation?
Sometimes Yoshino will throw some flowers around now. A few in our area are currently blooming a little.
 

River's Edge

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After a little research. It would seem that if it was cherry than the most likely cultivar is Autumnalis which is known for blooming twice per year, once in the spring and again in the late fall. Five petals and usually in clusters of five flowers. Learn something every day.
 

jaycraig

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After a little research. It would seem that if it was cherry than the most likely cultivar is Autumnalis which is known for blooming twice per year, once in the spring and again in the late fall. Five petals and usually in clusters of five flowers. Learn something every day.
i was thinking plum blossom but it does look like autumnalis as you said
 

jaycraig

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I had a ben chi dori that looked somewhat similar.
I air layered it after it leafed out in spring. Took about 2 months to get roots.
But both the air layer and the rootstock never leafed out again after that year. They never officially died, but after a year without foliage (and still being green and alive on the inside) I tossed both.
ive heard they are hard to turn into bonsai trees also given that it gets cold in my location. but im still up for the challenge
 

jaycraig

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@Sputnik 184 has succeeded with air layering Prunus mume and may have something to add.

The books say it is possible, and most of them recommend May/June. The one attached here says "June, when the sprout stops growing".

Here is one being executed in November 2021 (see comments), so it is still too early to know if it was successful. November strikes me as an odd time of year to be trying this, but who knows:

i have no idea what him or the book said but thank you for the info haha. i will keep an eye on it then give it a shot when the sprout stops producing late spring maybe... do you think spagnum moss ismore effective? thats what i plan on using for my air layering
 

Canada Bonsai

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i have no idea what him or the book said but thank you for the info haha. i will keep an eye on it then give it a shot when the sprout stops producing late spring maybe... do you think spagnum moss ismore effective? thats what i plan on using for my air layering

For the purpose of air layering, 'when the shoot stops extending' is more or less equal to 'as leaves harden', which is usual timing for many species that we commonly air layer in bonsai, like Japanese Maples.

I normally use my bonsai substrate and an open-top container, but I am present all day to survey watering needs. In this case, since it sounds like the tree is not on your property, yes, I would increase the amount of sphagnum, and wrap tightly on both ends.

My recommendation would be to air layer at a junction of 3 branches, or 2 being the next best option. In my experience, air layers tend to work better at such junctions, and it also gives you options to grow 3-trunk, 2-trunk, 1-trunk bonsai, and/or use 1-2 of the branches as sacrifice branches to get that root system and nebari going. Personally, I would not air layer a thick branch unless it had good movement and I had a clear path for making it a great bonsai -- I would make it a point to prioritize movement over girth. In terms of aesthetics, there is seemingly no limit to what one can do with a cherry, and the tall thin ones (1st and 3rd image) are to me no less interesting to have in one's garden than any other tree in this line up.

The best way to figure out what species/variety this is, is to ask the owner where they got it, and then ask that garden center to check their records of what they ordered/sold that year. That would at least narrow things down.

All pictures taken from web
 

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River's Edge

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i was thinking plum blossom but it does look like autumnalis as you said
Older trees in the landscape are often poor candidates for air layers, particularly in difficult species. It should be noted that air layers are more difficult to do on older branches and weaker trees. So choice of branch, age of branch and condition are important factors when choosing the portion to air layer. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But one can improve the odds with some care!
With the more difficult species the most likely candidates are last years growth. But then this is the least attractive from an air layer perspective. It can however allow you to obtain material that is otherwise unavailable in your area.
If you do the air layer, do not wrap the sphagnum tightly, better to pack some what loosely, but do squeeze the excess moisture out before using. I find a better mix is shredded sphagnum with small particle sieved pumice. The advantage is the ability to tease out the roots without damage when transplanting the air layer. The pumice and sphagnum mix is great for air and moisture retention.
 
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Bonds Guy

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Given the time of year and the location? Lets see Massachussets, middle of December, assuming the picture is recent as in the last few days. Which cultivar of cherry blooms at this time of year? Did I miss part of the explanation?
There’s a prunus species tree blooming in my area which completely abnormal (then again the warm weather we had the last few weeks is abnormal). I believe its a cherry tree since its on the curbside, but it could also be a peach since they’re becoming more common
 

River's Edge

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There’s a prunus species tree blooming in my area which completely abnormal (then again the warm weather we had the last few weeks is abnormal). I believe its a cherry tree since its on the curbside, but it could also be a peach since they’re becoming more common
Perhaps Autumnalis as suggested above in post #8. It is one where two blooms per year are expected.
 

AJL

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Looks like Prunus subhirtella Autumnalis - Winter flowering Cherry
 

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