How early can you start air layering japanese red maple in new england weather?

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I have a large Japanese red maple in my yard and I just learned about air layering recently, so I wanted to try air layering 8 or so small branches to create a red maple forest bonsai in the end.

I've read that it's best to start air layering early spring but the tree haven't sprouted leaves yet. Am I supposed to start air layering once I start seeing leaves forming or when there are buds turning green or opening up? I live in Rhode Island. And I see buds starting to form now.
 

TomB

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You can do it whenever you want, but nothing much will happen until there are leaves.
 

RKMcGinnis

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I always do it once it has stopped branching out new leaves and the tree starts photosynthesis on all new foliage. The tree is using it’s stored resources from the previous year to grow all that. I just don’t find disrupting that is helpful. But I could be missing something. Red maples layer very quickly with my experience. Pretty much any size branch. Smaller the quicker.
 

Dav4

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You can do it whenever you want, but nothing much will happen until there are leaves.
What Tom said. Leaves produce the energy needed to grow new roots so no roots will form until after leaves are photosynthesizing. Still, I'll sometimes perform a layer before the leaves push because it's easier to do with a naked tree/branch... 100% success with palmatums either way.
 

River's Edge

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I always do it once it has stopped branching out new leaves and the tree starts photosynthesis on all new foliage. The tree is using it’s stored resources from the previous year to grow all that. I just don’t find disrupting that is helpful. But I could be missing something. Red maples layer very quickly with my experience. Pretty much any size branch. Smaller the quicker.
If one considers what is actually being disrupted, then the question becomes clearer. Air layer stops the transfer from the upper part to the lower part. It does not stop the transfer from the roots to the entire tree, nor does it stop the transfer from leaves, needles to the portion air layered or the portion below the air layer if needles and leaves exist on that portion.
The timing is not critical to before leaf or after hardening off of the leaves. Both can work if the conditions and timing exists for root formation prior to fall. Sometimes it can take more than one growing season for proper root formation with certain species.
 

RKMcGinnis

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If one considers what is actually being disrupted, then the question becomes clearer. Air layer stops the transfer from the upper part to the lower part. It does not stop the transfer from the roots to the entire tree, nor does it stop the transfer from leaves, needles to the portion air layered or the portion below the air layer if needles and leaves exist on that portion.
The timing is not critical to before leaf or after hardening off of the leaves. Both can work if the conditions and timing exists for root formation prior to fall. Sometimes it can take more than one growing season for proper root formation with certain species.
I hear from some people that disrupting the flow of nutrients when cutting into the cambium is unnecessary while the tree is producing new growth. But I’d imagine there are good reasons to do so. I’m just unaware of them. I also here from others who are well experienced that it doesn’t matter.
 
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Ok so for maple trees in New England I should start air layering once I see new leaves so the sap will be used for root growth?
 

PA_Penjing

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You want to make 8 layers? Then I would make one layer when the leaves begin to emerge, another a week or two after that, and another and another each week or two. That way if some fail in a certain time frame you've learned something about timing. It's more of a pain in the ass to do it this way, but if you're serious about bonsai you'll be air layering for the rest of your life. If you can do it with confidence (nearly) every tree you see becomes bonsai potential. Very important skill to develop early, take it from me. I never mastered it and that has held me back. But! this year I change that. Let's go take some layers.
 

Dav4

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Ok so for maple trees in New England I should start air layering once I see new leaves so the sap will be used for root growth?
You can do it now or at any point until, depending on where you actually are, about 10 weeks before your first frost. When I lived in GA, which has a significantly longer growing season, I could start a layer in late January/early February- leaves push in late March- and the layer could generally be separated (because it had enough roots) by mid to late June... or I could start one in early August and separate by mid October.
 
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Dav4

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I'm not sure of which variety I have. But the leaf size looks like a regular American maple, but it's just a dark red color. It's not thin and lacey.
Could be a red maple A. rubrum, or Norway maple, A. platanoides, or others I suppose... lots of maple species can have red leaves
 

Vali

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I layered 2 branches of a tree last august as an experiment. They don't have roots yet, but there is callus formed and, probably, it is ready to produce roots. The branches are alive at the moment. I think I would start the process right now if I were you.
 

leatherback

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I've read that it's best to start air layering early spring but the tree haven't sprouted leaves yet. Am I supposed to start air layering once I start seeing leaves forming or when there are buds turning green or opening up? I live in Rhode Island. And I see buds starting to form now.
Start layering when you have leaves, basically.
 

coltranem

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I have successfully air layered Japanese Maples in MA starting when the leaves harden. Last year I started one in mid late May and separated in mid late July. The roots were starting to harden off. Repotted this spring to remove the spagnum and it had a great set of roots.
 

CarpenterDiaz7

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I recently purchased a couple of Japanese maples from a local garden center, I hope to begin my first try at Air Layering within the next 4 weeks… 🤞🏽
 

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