air layering


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Louisville, KY
i know how to air-layer as i have done it before as well as grafting.

but i was wondering WHEN to do it. Is it to late to do? should i wait until fall or next spring?

any guidance would be greatly appreciate it.

Bill you might be better off w/ an opinion from someone closer ( you have a longer growing season than I do) but it might be a bit late. This will depend on species( some grow like weeds), and your ability to protect the layer/new tree for the winter.

Some will give you 2 trees this year, some will be next year, then again some don't do well at all. But i think you know that part.

Give us a species and see what you got.
Hi Bill, Depends on what your layering and its ease or reluctance to root. I have just done some cherry and elm about 3 weeks ago and they all sprouted them beautiful tiny toes. My personal opinion is that you can do this now. If you don't get a big enough root ball by the end of September you'll have to make accomodations for over wintering it i.e. bubble wrap, black plastic...etc. I once did a crab apple that took three years to layer. Obviously a early start is always best, but if you have your heart set on it .....go for it. What have you got to loose except experience from not trying.
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Agreed Tom, just see too many that start bringing out the saw after several weeks:D This is just another area to practice patients.
Acer saccharinum

Or known in these parts as Water Maple due to the roots growing into water pipes and septic systems. But officially it is Silver Maple.

Here is a little info:


The Silver Maple has brittle wood, and is commonly damaged in storms. The roots are shallow and fibrous and easily invade septic fields and old drain pipes. It is a vigorous resprouter, and if not pruned, it will often grow with multiple trunks. It is, nonetheless, widely used as an ornamental tree because of its rapid growth and ease of propagation and transplanting. It is highly tolerant of urban conditions, which is why it is frequently planted next to streets. Although it naturally is found near water, it can grow on drier ground if planted there.

It is also commonly cultivated outside its native range, showing tolerance of a wide range of climates, growing successfully as far north as central Norway and south to Orlando, Florida. It can thrive in a Mediterranean climate, as at Jerusalem and Los Angeles, if summer water is provided. It is also grown in temperate parts of the Southern Hemisphere, as in Argentina and Uruguay.

Silver Maple is closely related to Red Maple, and can hybridise with it, the hybrid being known as the Freeman Maple (Acer x freemanii). The Freeman Maple is a popular ornamental tree in parks and large gardens, combining the fast growth of Silver Maple with the less brittle wood and less invasive roots of Red Maple.
Found some more...

The silver maple grows in zones 3 to 9, The tree is deciduous, it loses it's leaves every year in the fall then grows new leaves in the spring. The silver maple grows to a medium to large size at a rapid rate. Growth is slower after the tree becomes larger. The silver maple grows best in bright sun to partial shade and tolerates a wide range of soil types including poor soil. The silver maple is considered a medium texture tree. It has an upright form with oval to rounded shape and strong spreading branches.

The silver maple tree will attain a size of 50 to 70 ft and a width of 40 to 60'

The leaves are 3 to 6" opposite, simple leaf with 5 deeply cut lobes; silvery underside; green, yellow and brown combination fall color. The silver maple tree has very small greenish yellow to red flowers in early spring

The silver maple has very vigorous feeder roots. The tree can crack sidewalks and will clog drains and septic systems if planted near enough for the roots to reach. The tree is very easy to grow. Potential problems; brittle wood, large older branches can break off in high winds or ice storms. You should plant the silver maple away from driveways, roof over hangs and eaves.

Often people will inherit a large silver maple in the yard of an older home. Pay close attention to the condition of leaves and small branches on large limbs. If leaves and small branches are in decline or die in sections this could be a sign of Verticillium wilt. Have those large branches evaluated by a tree surgeon or arborist if the branch could cause damage when falling from the tree. Or to be safe just remove the branch at the sign of branch decline.

Silver Maple Problems:

The silver maple tree is susceptible to many insects and diseases including Verticillium wilt and other canker diseases. It is best to consult local nurserymen or ag extension departments as to silver maple problems common to your area.

Cultivars available:
“Blair” - 50 to 70'; Strong branching pattern; Yellow fall color.

“Lutescens” - New leaves are orange-yellow; yellowish green in summer; yellow fall color.

“Northline” - 60 to 80' by 40 to 45'; Wide branching; Slow grower; good branch structure.

“Silver Queen” - 50' by 40'; Upright oval rounded; Almost fruitless; bright green summer leaves; yellow fall color.

“Skinner” - Pyramidal; slender lateral branches; Cut leaf; bright green summer leaves.
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