First Air Layering Attempt

Messages
78
Likes
31
Location
Massachusetts
USDA Zone
6a
#1
I have this small flower tree (species unknown) that sprung up in my lilacs and is twin trunked at 15 feet tall. I wanted to create an air layer since I like the flowers and bark. This my first air layer. The trunk is about 1.75 inch in diameter and extends 6 feet above the cut.

I cut the layer in late April. The bark and first layer of wood came off easily. The next later (I assume the cambium) was yellowish and somewhat shiny. I scraped this with a knife as best I could until it was a dull tan.

The cut area was wrapped in wet spagnum moss and wrapped a clear plastic bag around it. I poked holes in the bag.

It has been two and a half months and I don't see any roots. There is new growth below the cut. The leaves above the cut are ok. There was some damage from gypsy moths and a few leaves have turned red but there is still a lot of green.

Any thoughts? I feel like the layer might have failed.

Here is the tree before the layer
20170429_121954.jpg 20170429_101502.jpg

Here is the layer (one month after)
20170527_150341.jpg

Here is the layer now
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20170715_125829.jpg
 

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sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
19,083
Likes
24,156
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
#2
Keep waiting!

I just had one go....

Seems were in the middle of it.

Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
 
Messages
78
Likes
31
Location
Massachusetts
USDA Zone
6a
#3
Ok...My fingers are crossed hoping this worked. In theory I need 6-8 weeks after removing the layer before winter right? My plan is to pot in a 3 gal bucket with some basic potting mix (leaving the moss attached). Once it goes dormant I am going to reduce its height some (maybe from 6 ft to 3 ft) before storing in my bulkhead for winter. Is that the right approach?
 
Messages
755
Likes
642
Location
Richmond, VA
USDA Zone
7a
#4
It's failed when the foliage dies or the tree bridges the gap. Sounds like you did just about everything right. It's a good sign there's new growth under the layer and that the layer's foliage still looks good; like @sorce said just wait longer. Now's the time that it's detrimental to not let the moss dry out.

6-8 weeks is good but I guess it depends on the type of plant, but I'm not sure what you have there, leaves look almost laurel-ish but not the flowers.

Whether to reduce the height or not is debatable. Theoretically you want all available foliage growth to drive root growth, but (I think) it may be important to try and balance the foliage growth to not over work the roots. I guess that's my way of saying I'm not really sure. It can be plant dependant too.

Good luck!
 
Messages
78
Likes
31
Location
Massachusetts
USDA Zone
6a
#5
Yeah I wish I knew what it was too. I have been checking the water every few days...it stays pretty water logged. I added more drainage a few weeks ago.
 
Messages
78
Likes
31
Location
Massachusetts
USDA Zone
6a
#6
Ok it has been a month and things are looking better. I am wondering if I have enough roots to separate the layer. The leaves above the layer seem to be yellowing.

20170821_181547.jpg 20170821_181539.jpg
 
Messages
78
Likes
31
Location
Massachusetts
USDA Zone
6a
#7
Ok here is the dileman. It looks like maybe this can go a little longer. However I might need to be away for two weeks. Do I do this now or when I return? I will have someone to watch over it while I am away but we are all new to getting an air layer to grow