Another JBP Air Layer Attempt

thumblessprimate1

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So I tried to air layer this JBP. It's my first large pine. It's around 15-20 years old, I think.
20150828_155641.jpg

It wasn't a success, but neither was it a complete failure. There was just about enough roots in there for a 1 year old JBP seedling.
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The method I used was a pot filled with primarily perlite. I covered the bottom with sphagnum moss and the top. Then the entire pot was wrapped with a large plastic sheet. The moss on top was moist each week or two that I check it. I watered it anyways as excess fluid was just going to escape the pot and into the plastic sheet. This was guaranteed to keep it humid inside the plastic sheet. It seems the roots grew where the wound was in contact with the moss and not with the perlite. If you're wondering about the state of the perlite, it was moist.

So what I've done now is fill up the pot with more moss. I mixed some perlite in there with it, but now the pot is primarily moist moss. I freshened up the wound a little with a knife carefully not to break any roots. I've already broken some. wrapped everything back up with a new sheet of plastic and 10 gallon nursery pot. If things go well, I should have more roots next year. Fall 2016 is when I'll reopen the pot to check, but I suspect I'll have to wait until at least Fall 2017 to to have enough roots.

My stuff laid out. Looked like I was carrying stuff in preparation for a murder or torture.
Gloves: check. Plastic sheet: check. String: check. Cutting tool: check.
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thumblessprimate1

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Last time I checked this guy is failing. :( I think my biggest challenge is because I'm not able to check on it daily to maintain a healthy level of moisture, not too wet and not too dry. Other challenges were that it got pruned by my elderly father who actually owns the tree and being a big tree probably makes it difficult to begin with anyways. Only a miracle could get this tree alive and strong again. Oh well. At least I know the possibility.
 

Cypress187

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I thought (sphagnum) moss was always the main ingredient for a good airlayer (I use(d) only moss).
 

0soyoung

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Using your favorite Bonsai substrate or pearlite, I don't think it is possible to get it too wet. One can put a layer of sphagnum on top to retard evaporation and if that is not enough, wrap the whole works with polyethylene film (saran, visqueen). Poly transmits oxygen but not water.
 

thumblessprimate1

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I added more moss that one time, a lot of it. I haven't opened it up again to see what's going on in the pot. Just hoping a little that it might recover. The pine leaves just looked really bad.
 

0soyoung

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If it is only the foliage of the layer, check the bark just below the girdle. If it is soft and squishy and mate even easily comes off with your touch, the party is over. The cambium died and the xylem is now plugged.

This happens sometimes. In some respects it is remarkable that it doesn't always happen. The loss of the auxin flow is what signals that the branch is gone and causes the natural compartmentalization of damage. Regardless of whether we make a girdle or use a tourniquet, we send the same signal. It's rather amazing that a layer can happen at all, let alone go on for years!
 

Cmanz

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Sorry to hear that the tree is not doing well. I have played with a few mediums and found that sphagnum packed tightly to avoid excess water or screened bonsai soil 1/4 inch and larger with sphagnum over the top as Osoyoung stated to be the best for me and my location. I believe that the perlite in a small particle size retains too much moisture. If you make another attempt try the tightly wrapped sphagnum. I was able to leave some pine air layers on for over a year and only ad water two or three times with this method. This would work well for a schedule where you cannot access the tree regularly. Good luck to you and your tree. Glad to see more pine layers going on.
 
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