Chinese Elm air layer etc.

GerhardG

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Hi

I bought a larger Chinese Elm on Saturday, been eyeing it for a while.
Normal nursery tree so I'm sure I'll have a battle with the roots somewhere down the line.

I removed about half the canopy (planted several cuttings) and now the wait is on for back-budding so I can chop it down.

I was looking at it this morning and realized I should air layer the remaining branch and part of the trunk.

I suspect many would say I should just chop down to where I want it?

Basically, I want to know if I should wait with the air layer till there's backbudding below the internded chop?

Thanks
Gerhard

PS: Very happy about this purchace, this means I can aim for a smaller bonsai with my smaller elm instead of letting it grow several more years as I intended..
 

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No, you don't need to wait for back-budding below the chop, however you need to wait for budding (in general) before you do your air-layer. Once the air-layer is complete, the elm should back-bud strongly below the chop.
 

GerhardG

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Thanks BNut, except for removing half the canopy the tree looks strong and is definately growing/budding, but it's only 2.5 months till we can expect winter to arrive so I don't want to take chances....
 

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You can check out this thread to see some pictures of an elm air-layer that I've been working on. I really need to take more photos because the tree is really coming along. At any rate, the thread is a couple of years old but you'll get the point. If you airlayer at the right time, you can get an amazing amount of development in one year...
 

GerhardG

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Hey BNut

Thanks for that link, when things are quiet at work I browse back through the forum, but I haven't seen that thread yet - great help.

It did however raise a few questions.....:D

Firstly, cut paste. I've never seen any for sale locally, and my search for amongst others some kind of inorganic potting medium leaves me doubting I would find any.
I'm severely paranoid about rot at large cuts following some ficus deaths right when I started with bonsai, and my only sollution so far has been potting anything that will see big cuts below ground in straight river sand (rich, red river sand).
Alternatives I've considered is wood glue (water-based, yeah, I know) and petroleum jelly (vaseline).

Secondly, sphagum moss :D - never even seen anything even remotely like that....
I tried an air layer on an olive before, it failed (as far as I could figure out) due to the clear plastic I used - sunlight=no root growth.
That occasion I used cotton wool as a substitute........and I have no idea if my reasoning was sound(?) or part of the problem

I had another question regarding rooting hormones following Smoke's comments on your thread, but since (again) we are so limited in what is available locally, I'll stick with the 2 types I have, namely hard wood and soft wood hormone.

I'll close my eyes tightly and pretend I don't know about the things I can't source or at time afford:D

Thanks
Gerhard

PS: the 5 weeks time frame helps, if I can get started this weekend there's at least double that time before our excuse for a winter pitches up.
Namibia is in the middle of a record rainfall year, and the rains are predicted to continue well into winter (May & June)
 

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I would wait. Always start an air layer at the BEGINNING of the growing season. You do not want to separate the air-layer at the beginning of the fall - there is not enough time for the tree to get established before the onset of winter. In a perfect world, you do the airlayer in the spring, separate the tree in early summer, and both sections have a couple of months to regain strength before growth slows in the fall.

By the way, the jury is out about whether sun is good or bad for air-layers. I like to use clear plastic for my airlayers so I can see what is going on. The question is less about sun and more about MOISTURE - you have to keep the moss on the airlayer ALWAYS DAMP. Even a couple of hours of dry moss and your roots will start to burn. I think your problem in the past may have been due to underwatering versus over sun-exposure. We get lots of direct sun in Southern California and it has never seemed to negatively impact my air-layer attempts (as far as the roots go).
 

GerhardG

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Hi

Just when you think you know.........

One thing I can assure you is the olive air layer did not go dry, the tree stood right next to my flat, it was pretty water tight and I checked it once a week.

Re. your earlier link......I was wondering about the clear plastic, assumed you'd taken the covering off...

I got my first elm last year May, I was living in a different part of the country with considerably different weather, BUT we don't have real winters like most of you - to give you an idea winter is the tourist season!:D:D
But I don't know yet how the elms will respond.

Thanks, I'll take your advice and apply patience.

What about cocconut hair? Could that be used in place of sphagum moss? What about cotton wool about cocconut hair mixed?:confused::D
 

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