Air Layering Japanese maple

b3bowen

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This thread may already exist but I was unable to find it. I have Many cultivars of Japanese maple that I am considering taking air layers from. I was hoping for reference to start a list of Japanese maples that people have been able to successfully grow on their own roots (air layer or cutting). It would also be helpful to know specific cultivars that people have failed to be able to root. I will start the list with my own experience plus those grown and sold at evergreen gardenworks.

Able to root:
Bloodgood
Ryusen
Orange dream
Virdis

Evergreen Gardenworks
'Ao Kanzashi'
'Beni Schichihenge'
'Burgundy Lace'
'Butterfly'
'Coonaria Pygmy'
'Ibo Nishiki'
'Inabe Shidare'
'Katsura'
'Kiyohime'
'Koshimino'
'Mure Hibari'
'Novum'
'Nuresagi'
'Osaka Suki'
palmatum 'Pixie'
'Sazanami'
'Seiryu'
'Sherwood Flame'
'Shindeshojo'
'Whitney Red''
'Yuri Hime'
A. shirasawanum 'Aureum'
A. shirasawanum 'Shir Autumn Moon'


I hear about a lot of difficulty with:
A.P. higasayama
 

thumblessprimate1

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Seiryu, shindeshojo, orange dream air layer ok. Seiryu and shin deshojo might be slow a few years. My seiryu really took off this year. It has whips going more than 2 feet this year, no chops prior.
 
D

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@b3bowen i ground layered my katsura late on June 29, 2018 and it has already grown its own roots and is doing very well. This is the limit of my experience with regards to layering, but I can share my experience about obtaining various cultivars:

If I may ask, what are you trying to achieve?

If you search through online forums and youtube, you will likely find all of the information you are looking for regarding the cultivars that are normally used for bonsai or landscaping. There are a lot of cultivars on your list, and there are conventions about their uses which can either be respected or ignored depending on your own personality and aspirations. Based on your question, it sounds like you are looking to gather knowledge about what is known, in which case you will likely learn about the more common cultivars and their more common respective uses.

I am (like you?) the type of person who wanted 'one of every cultivar', but soon realized that the differences or nuances between many varieties was nearly imperceptible or simply wasn't worth my time. Trying to acquire verifiably 'true' cultivars is difficult, time consuming, and requires a degree of risk at all levels. In my experience, it's unfortunately not like buying a German Shepherd or a Golden Retriever. It's more like buying corals. Growers often have some tree specimen that they think is X, but it doesn't quite grow the same way, for example. Hybrids are everywhere and, from what i understand, they are more common than 'pure breds'. My Kashima doesn't quite have the same leaves like other Kashimas do, but then again how many people have Kashimas with leaves don't quite look like the leaves of other Kashimas?

I've limited myself to about 12 cultivars that i am truly interested in acquiring. I'll be happy with close approximations.

Most of my trees will be plain green Acer Palmatum of unknown origin, but with growing habits that suit my plans. It took me a while to grasp this, so I thought I would share this experience and maybe save you some time. Maybe you've already gone down this road and have made your decisions, in which case just ignore me :)

Hope this helps,
D
 

b3bowen

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Thank you for your points. My intention with this tread was to create a central reference that would be valuable to anyone who was interested in air-layering/taking cuttings of various cultivars that they may find appealing. People could know up front that they may expect success, or that they may be waisting their time. There is so much subtlety among the different cultivars and every one has differences of opinion on which they are most interested in. There are no doubt cultivars that are commonly used for bonsai and so it is easy to know that they would do well on their own roots. There is also no doubt that standard green Japanese Maples are most easily developed as bonsai for many reasons, primarily related to vigor. From my perspective, though not as suitable for rigorous bonsai techniques many cultivars have substantial beauty related to there leaves. Just as some Satzuki azalea are primarily grown for their floral display I am interested in growing several Japanese maples to showcase there leaves. For example Higasayama or shigitatsu sawa in my opinion would make very attractive trees (2.5-3 ft) in larger containers which thinner graceful trunks. These trees because of their variegation, however, would not be as respected as typical bonsai.

As I said above, I have not heard of anyone successful in air layering a higasayama and as such I intend to air layer mine directly below the graft union to allow the union to hide within the nebari. Not sure how I should manage Shigitatsu sawa but I suspect it to would also do better remaining on rootstock.

Thanks each of you for your input above.
 

ysrgrathe

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It's not the easiest path to success, but it's certainly fun to experiment. This year I layered murasaki kiyohime, summer gold, chishio improved, kamagata. I have a layer started on corallinum that is rooting very slowly, so we'll have to see for that one. The variegated ones seem to be weaker and harder to work with in general.

Arakawa is easy to propagate by layers and cuttings. It responds more like the species. Ukigumo also roots readily.
 

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0soyoung

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Is it too soon to air layer if leaves have not pushed but the buds are awakening, like now?
One can girdle stems pretty much whenever one wants. IMHO, it is convenient to do it before the tree has leafed out - so much easier for you to see what you're doing. Not much of anything in the way of rooting, though, will happen until after the tree has leafed out.

In my experience, some maple species respond strangely to girdling before buds have begun to color and swell. But all the species I know are okay with it as buds color and afterward.
 

ysrgrathe

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@Japonicus yep, #3 is Kamagata! Very similar looking to Sharp's pygmy.

At the end of the season I had like 1 scraggly root from my Corallinum but I haven't given up -- good callus, so hopefully another season will produce better roots. I also forgot to note that I've layered Sango Kaku successfully.
 

Japonicus

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One can girdle stems pretty much whenever one wants. IMHO, it is convenient to do it before the tree has leafed out - so much easier for you to see what you're doing. Not much of anything in the way of rooting, though, will happen until after the tree has leafed out.

In my experience, some maple species respond strangely to girdling before buds have begun to color and swell. But all the species I know are okay with it as buds color and afterward.
DSC_2716.JPG DSC_2718.JPG DSC_2722.JPG
Ok, good to know. I'd read deciduous as buds awaken on one site, and others wait till Spring push for Japanese maples.
I went ahead and began my 1st, unsure if the pink dwarf variety would be helped (2019 Winter's coming) or hindered, waiting
for higher pressure within. Perhaps there's no pressure differential but I'm assuming there is.
I expect rooting to take longer than normal, but it's an experiment. This is what I bought this tree for.

At what point @0soyoung would you prune further to now before the demands of the leaves for this layer?

@Japonicus yep, #3 is Kamagata! Very similar looking to Sharp's pygmy.

At the end of the season I had like 1 scraggly root from my Corallinum but I haven't given up -- good callus, so hopefully another season will produce better roots. I also forgot to note that I've layered Sango Kaku successfully.
Awesome. It's much more vigorous than the one I had. Best of luck with them all!
 

Cofga

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As long as we are on this subject I was wondering how many air layers is it safe to place on one tree? My neighbor has a maple he wants gone and I have voluntered to dig it out but first I want to air layer the good branches. It seems to be in good health and is about 6-7’ tall. It probably is your standard landscape variety red leafed japanese maple. So how many unlayered limbs is it safe to air layer without killing the rest of the tree in the process? Half, 2/3, 3/4?
 

0soyoung

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As long as we are on this subject I was wondering how many air layers is it safe to place on one tree? My neighbor has a maple he wants gone and I have voluntered to dig it out but first I want to air layer the good branches. It seems to be in good health and is about 6-7’ tall. It probably is your standard landscape variety red leafed japanese maple. So how many unlayered limbs is it safe to air layer without killing the rest of the tree in the process? Half, 2/3, 3/4?
Every (prospective) piece needs to have its own foliage.
IOW, one can make a series of layers, one above/below the other - just each must have foliage.
Assure there is foliage feeding the roots and you can wait for several seasons for each to root, if need be.
 

jmw_bonsai

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As long as we are on this subject I was wondering how many air layers is it safe to place on one tree? My neighbor has a maple he wants gone and I have voluntered to dig it out but first I want to air layer the good branches. It seems to be in good health and is about 6-7’ tall. It probably is your standard landscape variety red leafed japanese maple. So how many unlayered limbs is it safe to air layer without killing the rest of the tree in the process? Half, 2/3, 3/4?
Really just a judgment call. As Osoyoung mentions, you just need to decide how much energy you still leave going thru trunk to roots. For a smaller tree with smaller root system, probably want to stay in the <25% range. For a mid-size tree <50%. If a really healthy tree with a great roots system you could go 50% or a little higher. I imagine on a really healthy one, you could even got to 100%. But the next year will be perilous.
Here is a 'Wilson Pink Dwarf' I would put in the larger size and very healthy range. And I have taken >50%. This was a few years ago, and considering doing the same again this year.10268448_928140637209876_3573113984401854538_n.jpg
 
D

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some maple species respond strangely to girdling before buds have begun to color and swell
any deshojo-specific experience regarding this?

I was told that earlier wounds would increase the chance for fungus to get in? would it be best air-layer after routine lime-sulphur treatment in the spring (as buds swell)? does lime-sulphur getting in the wound burn it/the precious cambium?

going to be air layering my most valued deshojo in the next 4-6-8 weeks -- i'm already sweating
 

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coh

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I layered a deshojo some years ago. I treated it as I would any other layer - did the cutting/wrapping after leaf out in spring (don't think I've ever done a layer
before leaf out on any tree). Did fine, still have both the original and the layered tree.
 

b3bowen

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One can girdle stems pretty much whenever one wants.
Thanks for these replies. Does anyone think that girdling early, as buds begin to swell could increase the risk of failure for any reason (ex. Late freeze damage)? I would rather start soon if that option is just as good. Has anyone started layers on the same tree/same year, as buds swell, then after leaves harden to see which developed stronger roots. I can do, but don’t want to reinvent the wheel.
 

Cofga

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Really just a judgment call. As Osoyoung mentions, you just need to decide how much energy you still leave going thru trunk to roots. For a smaller tree with smaller root system, probably want to stay in the <25% range. For a mid-size tree <50%. If a really healthy tree with a great roots system you could go 50% or a little higher. I imagine on a really healthy one, you could even got to 100%. But the next year will be perilous.
Here is a 'Wilson Pink Dwarf' I would put in the larger size and very healthy range. And I have taken >50%. This was a few years ago, and considering doing the same again this year.View attachment 228395
Thanks, I saw your photo and that is what got me imsoired to take on this project. I took a close look at the tree today and found that there actually are two planted close to each other. There are probably 5 branches on each so will have to pick and choose to keep it at 50% on each. The tree has been periodically hacked back since it was planted too close to the house and was growing under the overhang. As a result it is on the order of 2”diameter—well worth the effort. I would like to be able to keep the main stem and root system alive so we can try and lift them too once the layers are done. Now I just need to look for a big bag of sphagnum.
 

Japonicus

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Here is a 'Wilson Pink Dwarf' I would put in the larger size and very healthy range. And I have taken >50%. This was a few years ago, and considering doing the same again this year.View attachment 228395
Let me know if you want to sell any good layers of the Wilsons Pink.
That is the dwarf I mentioned yesterday I layered before Spring push of leaves. Love this maple!
How is this tree on its own roots in your experience? Any info you could pass along on it greatly appreciated.
 

parhamr

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I’ve had success with the shishigashira cultivar. It seemed easy enough.
 

0soyoung

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At what point @0soyoung would you prune further to now before the demands of the leaves for this layer?
I am puzzled what this has to do with layering.

If I am trying to 'chase back the foliage', I cut back to the closest visible bud pair. A few weeks later, buds will become visible farther back to which I can again cut back. Eventually, the apical bud pair breaks and I let those two shoots grow. I suppose that one could also do this to a stem that is being layered, but one should subsequently let the season's growth run. My personal habit is to not trim the branch that I am layering. However, I haven't bothered to assay whether there is (or will be) more foliage on an unpruned versus pruned stem/branch.
 

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