Overwintering Air layer's

Mike423

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I have a large Hinoki Cypress Layering (around 3inch diameter branch) that I have been trying to air layer this year. Its growing roots but not enough to remove it and it therefore wouldn't survive if I remove it this year. I was wondering what the best way to protect the layering over winter would be (if even possible)? Any hints or help would be appreciated.

-Mike
 

Mike423

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Has anyone successfully overwinter a air-layer??
 

hetesss

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I have successfully overwintered native black pine layers here in north GA. I wrap them with a 2"-3" layer of dry sphagnum in thick black plastic. FWIW, I didn't have enough thick black plastic for one of my layers so I used thin garbage bag material, and it did not survive. However, we only have about 10 days a year when the temp. stays below freezing, and when it's that cold, the sun is usually shining. In your area, I would also try to block the wind as much as possible, not only to prevent dessication, but also heat loss around the roots. I would try bricks or plywood if the layer is on a landscape plant, or if it's a potted plant, shelter by a masonry building or along a solid fence. Good luck. Be sure to share your outcome.
 

Bill S

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Not with pine but in general if you can, keep it above freezing, but below 40 if possible. Up here, with a 3 season porch enclosed I can keep that temp range.

If those ten days are separated, you could bring it in for an overnight, and kept somewhat cool, not too unlike having a tree inside for a workshop or show/display for a day.
 

Mike423

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Thanks guys. The air layer in question hasn't been removed from the parent tree yet due to lack of enough root formation of its own to the point I would feel safe saying it would sustain itself if removed. So to that point special care with temps and otherwise would kind of be out of the question since its not potted. It is in a fairly sheltered spot and it sounds like hetesss's idea might be what I should go with and bulking up the wrapping was a general idea I had. My one question would be with doing so though is how to be sure that the air layering does not dry out?? especially since it will be wrapped heavily and inaccessible to check?

The tree with the layering on it is in a decently protected are and could probably be protected even better from wind with little work, but having the sun hit it to heat it up would be near impossible. I am just worried since the Chicago winters can sometimes get into single if not double below zero for a few days at a time.

I had also just thought about removing it and seeing if it survived but think the chances of that would be very low due to the layering size as well as the lack of a good strong root system.
 

rockm

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"I am just worried since the Chicago winters can sometimes get into single if not double below zero for a few days at a time."

An air layer on any tree in conditions like this will not survive, at least the new roots won't. The limb being air layered MAY survive as it is mostly dormant (and won't be pushing new growth and/or roots until the spring) and could just callus over the following spring. Any new roots the tree has pushed at the site will be killed outright by temps below 15 or so in a few hours. Since the air layer is exposed on all sides by air, it will retain little warmth. A wrapping of black plastic won't stop temps below 20 from freezing the whole thing completely in an hour or so. Below 20 and it's a shorter time. Temps below 0 F, well, fuhgedaboudit...
 

Bill S

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Unfortunately many think you can wrap an insulating blanket around it and it will be ok, trees don't produce heat so insulation is a moot point. Black plastic etc. can be detrimental too, it can heat up on a mild day or two, and then when the freeze hits again, well as rock said fuhgedaboudit...
 

Mike423

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Maybe I could just remove and pot it and try to keep it in a humidity dome and treat it like a giant cutting and hope it will survive. The only problem with that would be possibly keeping it inside over winter and it might be more work than its worth since there's a strong chance it might just die anyways from being inside during winter.
 

fh05

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Is it possible to leave it alone for now and retry next spring?
 

jk_lewis

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An unheated garage is probably your best bet.
 

Mike423

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Is it possible to leave it alone for now and retry next spring?

The trunk is about 3 inches in diameter and the ring of bark removed if I remember right was about 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide so I dont know if it would even heal over if left. Most likely if I just leave it the way it is it will probably die.
 

fh05

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I may be wrong but my understanding is that the upper part of the tree ie the layer should get its nutrition fron the deeper layers of the trunk ( otherwise the layer would just die in the summer heat). The bark and the outer layers transport the sugars back to the roots, thus when this path is interrupted new roots form.
 

rockm

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You're right,but the new roots on the layer will be killed by frost and freezing. The upper portion of the layer may also be compromised by the cut causing sap withdrawal in the winter which can kill it too...
 
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Since we are at the end of our rope in terms of weather, I would remove it and keep it in an unheated garage for the winter.
 
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mike,
bare with me here... when it gets cold here in florida,(I know not much in comparison to chicago) for or outdoor cats, we have this plastic disk, kinda like a hot water bottle, that we microwave for 10 mins. and it stays warm all night.
Now I know they have some ice pack type things that you freeze and can put on your back. Was wondering if their isn't something similar to these examples that could be microwaved and somehow wraped around.

Obviously they have the stickable hot pads for your back, which would get expensive quick. Perhaps an electric pad might work, but similar expense? You might want to check walmart,target, etc. in the same section for something you could microwave...

You might have to build sometype of rig, to help with weight, since you would not want to put stress on your layer. Also, you might need to put something in between like a cloth, so it doesn't get to hot...

Hope this might help... Good Luck!!!
 

Jason

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Harry Harrington addresses this in an article he wrote on air layering on his Bonsai4me website. According to him leaving it over the winter isn't a big problem. Any roots that are killed off just regrow in the spring. I have one on a japanese maple that won't be able to establish itself properly before winter. I'm leaving it on....I'll let you know what happens next year.
 

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