air layering

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Ok, I'm convinced, I'm going to give air-layering a go,(Never even been tempted to try before) I've got a couple of crab-apple trees in the yard, would one of them be a suitable first project?
 

BrianBay9

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Since nobody has chimed in yet, I'll give it a go. Yes, crabapples should be among the easier trees to airlayer. The best time to start is after their first leaves have hardened off in the spring. Pick an accessible spot on a limb that shows good taper and movement above the airlayer and give it a go.

Are you familar with the procedure?

Brian
 

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An important, but little understood, part of the procedure is using the proper rooting hormone. Different tree species respond differently to air-layering. Some will root easily, some will root with more difficulty. Rooting hormone helps the process a LOT but you ahve to match the strength of the hormone with the species - too little and it is useless, too much and you can burn the roots.
 

Tachigi

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Yes, crab apples should be among the easier trees to airlayer.
Not to contradict you Brian. At least in my experience crab apples have been a mother to airlayer. On average it has taken me 3 years to air layer a crab apple successfully. That verse a hornbeam, juniper, or JBP that took me one season. Perhaps its me, but I think they are exceedingly tough and would much rather take large cuttings.

Paddles this shouldn't deter you from trying. Just be well aware that it may take some time and a whole lot of patience. I remember my first attempt at it. Colin Lewis saw what I was doing and said it was a waste of time. I did it just to prove I could. However as satisfying as the layer was it did take to much time and energy that could have been applied elsewhere. If you do try, I found that a mixture of Spagnum (angel moss), course sand, and a little akadama as the layer wrap quicken'd the layer. Keeping in mind that the word quickened is a relative term. Good Luck
 
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BrianBay9

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Not to contradict you Brian. At least in my experience crab apples have been a mother to airlayer. On average it has taken me 3 years to air layer a crab apple successfully. That verse a hornbeam, juniper, or JBP that took me one season. Perhaps its me, but I think they are exceedingly tough and would much rather take large cuttings.
Wow, that hasn't been my experience at all. Perhaps differences in climate? I've had crabs airlayers take in about 8 or 9 weeks.... Anybody else care to break the tie?

Brian
 

Brent

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Brian

Disclaimer: I haven't airlayered any crabs, but have started zillions of cuttings. I have been following this issue of layering crabs for many years and it is the consensus of those who have posted about this subject that crabs are indeed difficult to layer.

From my experience with cuttings, I would not be surprised if a lot of this problem relates to the cultivar. Some of my cvs are extremely easy to root as cuttings and others are virtually impossible. Paddles, if you just want to get some experience in airlayering, I would stick with broadleaf Japanese Maples, Acer palmatum (not threadleaf or dissectums which will be difficult). These are extremely easy to layer; you are almost guaranteed success if the layer doesn't dry out, and hormone isn't much of an issue, but will help.

Brent
EvergreenGardenworks.com
see our blog at http://BonsaiNurseryman.typepad.com
 

BrianBay9

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Sorry paddles, I stand corrected. Apparently I was very lucky, or worked with an easy cultivar. Anyway Brent has much more experience than I, and I would trust his opinion.

Brian
 

BrianBay9

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Sorry, didn't mean to imply you shouldn't trust Tom too....lol.

Brian
 

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For what it's worth, the University of Florida site recommends .8% IBA (Hormex 8) as a rooting hormone for all crab apples, which would suggest it is a relatively difficult species to root. Not sure this info is directly relatable to air-layers, but I have generally found the stronger hormone needed, the harder it is to air-layer something.
 

Gnome

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I too have had difficulty in air layering Crab Apples. I have tried two years running now (on the same tree) and although they calloused easily they never struck roots. I had intended to try cuttings this spring but now I wonder if this is just a stubborn variety and there is nothing I can do. Perhaps I need to find a different source.

Norm
 

paddles

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I've got 3 different crab apples, Next year or so, i'll have a go, and see what happens.
 

Tachigi

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Rock Star

Sorry, didn't mean to imply you shouldn't trust Tom too....lol.

Brian
LOL...That's all right Brian. As we all know Brent is the rock star :) of tree propagation and care in the US. That's who I would have referenced myself. When I started my small little bonsai venture and still to this day. I reference his articles and Blog when I am scratching my head, or wanting to try something new. He has a treasure trove of information in that noggin of his.
 

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