Dogwood Air Layer Attempt...Round Two

Discussion in 'Grafting, layering & propagating' started by Greastart, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Greastart

    Greastart Seedling

    Messages:
    13
    Greetings All,

    I'm a new member here. I'll look around for an introductions page and post a proper intro next.
    The back story:
    Last summer (2016) I decided I should prune some of the shoots/branches from my potted dogwood. (Cornus Rubra I believe) It's at least 12 years old. May be closer to 15.

    Then I started wondering about propagation and found the Air Layer technique.

    I think I tried the first time sometime in late June or maybe even early July of 2016. I cut, peeled bark and scraped enough I thought. Late August of 2016 I inspected and found that the wound had bridged. So I called a local nursery and spoke to their resident air layer pro. He told me to bundle it back up and with luck it would survive the winter. I did and it did. I live in far northeastern California where snow and cold are a certainty each winter.

    So, late spring...closer to early June 2017 I cut again, scraped again, and bundled it back up again. 2016 I used no rooting hormone. 2017, following the advice of the propagation expert I used fresh aloe vera gel as a natural root formation accelerator.

    Now late Sept 2017, I unbundled it again hoping for roots and this is what I've found. (Pic 101)
    Close inspection shows that it has not bridged but closer inspection shows what I believe is a very fine strand of an inner layer still intact which may have allowed some transfer of auxin. (I may have some names or terms mixed up. If so, please forgive and educate.)

    And some foilage pictures show that the branch remained health and active as it produced what I call flower buds or bracts for next year. In fact, the buds/bracts on the layer branch formed and grew larger than the non layer branches of the same tree.

    Now the question. I've got it bundled back up. What do you think, any chance of this thing forming roots in spring of 2018? I plan on cleaning it back up, scraping diligently, and applying genuine root hormone again in 2018.

    Please weigh in with your thoughts.
     

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  3. Greastart

    Greastart Seedling

    Messages:
    13
    A couple more pics
     

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  4. TomB

    TomB Mame

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    S.E. UK
    It's still alive so the chances are good I think. I would certainly try.
    I've found that keeping the air layer too wet can lead to the kind of callus formation, rather than roots, that you are seeing. So keeping it a little dryer may be worth considering.
    It may also be worth trying a different method of air layering too (I favour the pot-of-soil approach, rather than the sphagnum wrap).
    I'm not convinced that rooting hormone is necessary, though many people use it.
    When you re-cut I wouldn't cut away too much of that callus, just trim the bottom edge.
     
    sorce likes this.
  5. sorce

    sorce Nonsense Rascal

    Messages:
    16,835
    Location:
    Berwyn, Il
    To an interesting form!

    Looks so bloody close!

    No reason not to try a few more next spring with a few altered approaches to see what works best!

    You can cut the bottom side lower too and keep it outside the bag so it won't bridge.....

    Try a RadialDisk...
    https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/radialayerâ„¢-a-season-saver.17046/

    Sorce
     
  6. Greastart

    Greastart Seedling

    Messages:
    13
    Yes, I'll try again in the spring. Interesting that you say maintain a bit dryer layer. First round in 2016 it was dryer but it bridged. Too bad I didn't get pics. So this go around I tried again but kept it much more moist thinking it would encourage rooting. I was thinking more moisture would be better...like a cutting in a glass of water.

    I'd like to try the radial disk approach but there's not enough space. The branch is very close to the main trunk/stem. I'll document the approach in the spring.

    Thanks for the input.
     
  7. Greastart

    Greastart Seedling

    Messages:
    13
    Wouldn't keeping the bottom cut/scrape OUT of the moist environment make it harder to keep the top of the branch hydrated?
     
  8. namnhi

    namnhi Chumono

    Messages:
    660
    Location:
    Houston TX
    I think keeping the medium too wet might have something to do with failed to grow roots. This is a trident maple failed to root twice. Will try again next Spring if it still alive. I did the pot method with turface and perlite. IMG_20171007_174334098.jpg
     
  9. sorce

    sorce Nonsense Rascal

    Messages:
    16,835
    Location:
    Berwyn, Il
    Not if you keep it Watered? :p:confused:

    Sorce
     
  10. Welcome to the wacky world of air layering, where the trees don't read the books so they don't know they should root in 3 months, I'm in the northern half of the midwest, many trees I have air layered took 2 years to develop roots,

    First - scrape that trunk clean again, you can even take off a little wood. Cut just the bottom edge of the callus formation, Then IMMEDIATELY, get it wrapped up either with sphagnum (my preference) or with a hanging pot full of media. You want moist, not soggy, sphagnum there all winter, Often in the dead of winter, or in very early spring is when roots will start to form. Do not leave it exposed and dry, because that sets the roots back to day zero.

    I winter trees carrying air layers exactly as I would the normal version of the tree without air layers, The forming roots will survive freezing just as they would if in the ground,

    That is my thought, JBP for me takes 2 years, from air layers started in June, Warning, I only have about a 50% success rate, out of about 20 attempts. Even after waiting up to 4 years for air layers to root. You are not guaranteed success. Too much rooting hormone can inhibit roots, some species do require rooting hormone to bring success rate up. DO if you have not tried hormone, give it a try, but don't over do it, read the dose rate.

    SO yes, Keep it wrapped up. Roots tend to form at times of year other than when vegetative growth is happening. So spring before leaves pop, late summer or autumn while the rest of the tree is shutting down for winter. So keep the layer on year round so you do not miss the point in time when the roots are ready to grow.

    Callus always forms first, and often has to mature for 3 to 6 months before roots emerge from the callus, Only things like Ficus, willow and other easy to root from cuttings plants air layer quickly. Most deciduous trees take more time than you might expect after working with Ficus,
     
    sorce likes this.
  11. Greastart

    Greastart Seedling

    Messages:
    13
    Thanks Leo,
    So you're saying I should trim the bottom most part of the callus, scrape the cut down to wood, apply some accurately dosed rooting hormone, then bundle it back up for winter and let it be through the spring, and even early summer without disturbing it?

    We got our first dusting of snow yesterday but it is expected to warm back up again and remain mild for about a month.

    Grease
     
    Leo in N E Illinois likes this.
  12. CWTurner

    CWTurner Chumono

    Messages:
    897
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    I've had a difficult time air layering dogwood(cornus florida). After two years and still nothing more than callus, I gave up.

    Nice bark and great trees, just difficult to layer. Good luck!
    CW
     
  13. Yep, you read me correctly. This way, the tree can grow roots when it wants to.
     

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