Maple air layer..

the3rdon

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Ok nuts.. I have a Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum) that I want to air layer for 2 reasons.. The roots are crappy and the trunk is too tall.. Other than that it defoliated nicely last year and has awesome branching..

Would you
(A.) air layer with plastic and spaghnum moss, and if so should I pot it up into a grow pot when it gets cold?

(B.) use a nice free draining soil mix and layer it in a grow pot?

What kind of rooting hormone do you reccomend, and how much and often do I use it?

Help please.. :D
 

garywood

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Don, I've (layered) hundreds if not thousands of trees and the reason layered is in parentheses is that it is a very generic term. Depending on what, where and why which you tried to do but a photo of the tree to see where the layer will be, will give a more detailed description. I've used all of the methods you want to do with success but if for instance, the layer is close to the base, a cage and a barrier to direct roots outward is best. In this method I like to use sphagnum close to the trunk,packed tight to insure good capillary action between the cuts and cover with soil for the new roots to grow. Dip & Grow is a good hormone that's readily available, 10X strength. Post a shot of the tree and if you want I'll try and find a comparable shot to explain.
Wood
 
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the3rdon

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Thank's Wood.. I will post a picture a little later tonight, when I get home from work..

~Don H.
 
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Hey Don, I layered one 2 years ago, about 3 inches in diameter, using a modified version of the method Gary described.
I used the technique shown on beech in Bonsai Today #103. I cut 2 parallel lines about 3/16 inch apart then used a chisel of the same width to cut in about 1/4 inch deep, let dry over night, Then wrapped a copper wire of the same diameter as the slot, tightly as possible, tapping the wire with a hammer that won't damage the bark, (I used a small deadblow) in order to get it as tight as possible.( almost flush)
Then I split a 8 inch mesh pond basket in half and cut a trunk sized hole in the bottom. My layer was off the original soil level about 10 inches so I drove 3 small stakes/legs in the original pot to an elevation that would support the basket at the right height.(top lip was aout 2 inches above layer)
Next used some small wire through the mesh of the basket in 2 places on each side to tie back together, put some spahgnum around the hole in the bottom, and a 2 inch thick band around the layer (didn't use any rooting hormone) and filled with turface and lava 50/50.
All of this was done before budbreak in early spring as recommended in the article. About a year an a half later(too long) the basket was full fine roots, which made it hard to get to the place I wanted to sever the trunk. The other mistake I made was trying to get the wire off, I delaminated the bark from one small section, in hindsight the wire should have come off earlier or maybe not at all?
I too will try to locate some pictures of this debacle when time permits.
Good luck,
Mike
 

the3rdon

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Here is the tree.. I love the tree and it has been freshly repotted, so I don't even know if I should layer it this year?
 

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garywood

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Don, here is a shot of the final product. I think this will be the best method for your tree. The process: make the cut, the upper cut at the widest part of the graft union. The lower cut about an inch below that. apply hormone to upper cut and slightly above. Have a barrier made in advance. Weed barrier from a big box store works well. Cut a circle a little smaller than the cage. Split it half way and cut a small circle the size of the trunk so that it will have a snug fit and force the emerging roots to grow out instead of down. You will have to raise the existing soil level and put the barrier at the cut layer. A small ball of sphagnum pressed tightly around the trunk and then fill with bonsai soil.
Wood
PS wait until next year,2-3 weeks before budbreak. It will root this year but not as strongly.
 

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the3rdon

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Thank's Wood.. I will definately wait, the tree looks alrright for now anyway. With radial roots and some thickening I think it will be great..

Thank's,
Don H
 

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