Question on potting up an air layer

cbroad

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Earlier this summer I started a few air layers on various trees and one crape myrtle is filling the bag nicely, I'm thinking about potting it tomorrow. I used sphagnum moss that I cut up well, should I tweeze the moss away from the roots or plant straight without messing with the ball? The roots are pretty thick and I think I could clean it up without doing any damage.

Other than not being able to straighten out the roots first, what problems could the moss cause when it comes time to repot?

It may even be too early, I did it on 7/5...
 

0soyoung

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Sphagnum is actually a decent growing medium for as long as a couple of years - after that it is seriously decaying and will cause trouble. I pot sphagnum layers like you have done intact, leaving the sphagnum in place (just take the plastic wrapping off, sit it in a pot, and fill with substrate). Those roots are very fragile now but will harden in you favorite substrate through the rest of the summer and fall. Then you can safely and easily comb out the sphagnum next spring.
 

cbroad

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Thanks, just didn't know if it is something I should take care of before potting. I was thinking of correcting all the awkward downward growing roots, but was unsure if leaving the moss there would continue obstructing the collar and what would happen if I left it intact and basically slip potted it.
 

sorce

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Crapes got vigorous roots right?

I'd wait till the next waning moon and wash it all out, tidy your roots, and plant it proper.

Everything I have ever left sphagnum in or on over winter has died.
Of course, I offer no winter protection, and our fall is very wet.

Fresh sphag I put in some trees only a few weeks ago is already black. That black carries over to the roots, and when it does, knock knock goes the tree reaper!

Sorce
 

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I have always just transferred them in "slip pot" fashion right into the new pot when doing sphagnum layers... I can never seem to get the moss out without cause massive damage to the new fresh roots, which destroys the work of layering... Unfortunately, this means you will have a tangled mass of a rootball going forward that will need massive corrective work in the future to make anything decent out of it.

Now... Next time you do a layer, try cutting a hole in the bottom of a little plastic lot to fit around the branch, cut it up the side, fit it over the spot where you ringed the bark, and fill the pot with perlite or your favorite coarse bonsai substrate... This will give you roots that grow outward unimpeded in a flat radial circle and roots that are growing in a medium that easily washes away (or can just be transferred into a larger pot to grow out). You get a better looking root mass, in my experience more reliable consistent radial roots (nothing is 100%), and you don't have to worry about having a rotted mess of old sphagnum to wash out of your roots a year or two from now! I think they take a little faster with this method sometimes also. Just my Experience and I have done so many layers in recent years I cannot even count them any more... All but one or two were successful with this method.
 

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My experience is to remove the moss as soon as roots are ready. The chances of survival depends on the level of root vigor and maturity, but most importantly aftercare. I'm not so good with aftercare, so I have to depend on the other two conditions a lot. If your roots are not ready, you could check in fall or spring next year. If you leave in the moss, just becareful not to let the moss stay wet in fall and winter. You could experience root rot.

Here is a Japanese maple and separated in mid June and repotted it a couple weeks later. Now, it has roots growing more than an inch out of it's container. I actually removed all the moss, combed out the roots, and pruned away about 30% of the roots; they were growing much thicker and higher than the others. This is not something I usually do, but the conditions were right.
 

BethF

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I air layered a Japanese maple and a winged elm this spring using Eric's pot method. Though I know roots have grown, it is hard to see them in the cups, so I wonder how to know when they are ready to be separated.
 

MichaelS

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I air layered a Japanese maple and a winged elm this spring using Eric's pot method. Though I know roots have grown, it is hard to see them in the cups, so I wonder how to know when they are ready to be separated.
If the roots are potted in a mix, there is no hurry to remove it. You can with advantage leave it where it is until the pot is full of roots. (remove in autumn). If it is in moss, I find it best to cut off earlier and plant in a mix of perlite and vermiculite without removing the moss. The roots will not rot. The only way to tell how many roots there are is to look....very carefully!
 

cbroad

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Thanks everybody for the info, I tried air layering years ago but I never got it to work, this year so far 4 out 5 air layers are taking. So I've never got to the potting up part.

@sorce
Tonight's the new moon, probably cant wait till the end of the month...
Do you follow moon phases for root work?
And how did you get that Pokemon title? o_O

@Eric Group
Yeah I may wait for spring before I clean it out, but it's going to be hard to not mess with it when I separate it...:D
I was contemplating using that method with turface, but knew I probably couldn't have kept it watered enough so I went the easier route :oops:.
Crap, I probably could have wrapped plastic around it and made a humidity tent... I'll try that next time.

@thumblessprimate1
Some of the roots are pretty thick now, probably over 1/4", I feel like they could take a little redirecting. I guess I'm more afraid that the roots are going to lignify with a ugly kink before spring. I might be able to pot it up then mess with it sometime in mid to late fall.
 

sorce

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Tonight's the new moon, probably cant wait till the end of the month...
Do you follow moon phases for root work?
And how did you get that Pokemon title?

I have noticed a rather undeniable pattern.
http://www.bonsainut.com/threads/root-talk.20606/

I got the Pokeman title for having a severe problem of posting way too much!

Congrats on your successful layers!

Sorce
 

cbroad

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Thanks,

That's very interesting, I noticed almost all of my layers starting to root a week ago so they started during the waning moon, you might be onto something...

I was wondering if you got it for hitting over 10k messages; what if you changed it to some bonsai or plant deity, like Sucellus the Celtic god of agriculture, forests and alcoholic drinks? :eek:
 

sorce

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You may have read it, but for those following here...

I repotted my Mugo a couple waning moons ago and it's banging!
My yard tree airlayer also showed roots at the side of the pot at the end of the waning moon.

Let me go look at one more thing.

Sorce
 

cbroad

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Yeah that could have huge implications for repotting, you were getting roots in winter in Illinois!

Unfortunately the one crape won't make it another 3 weeks in that bag, so I'm potting it up in a couple hours. But if it dies now that the moon is waxing, I'll know why :eek:
 

sorce

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Indoors.

Sorce
 

Eric Group

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I air layered a Japanese maple and a winged elm this spring using Eric's pot method. Though I know roots have grown, it is hard to see them in the cups, so I wonder how to know when they are ready to be separated.
I just open the pot up, pull it off the branch and see what falls away... If you have roots you will see them pretty fast! When did you start them? The only times I have not had success with these the tree either healed over the ringed bark or it calloused up real heavy instead of spitting out roots... Trident seem probed to doing this sometimes. I bet your took. I have found JM and Elms to be insanely easy to root.
 

cbroad

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@sorce
Yeah indoors, even though the photoperiod is shorter and weaker you still got roots. The plants should be less active I would think.


So I potted the layer earlier, had even more roots since I last looked.



I did take some moss off the ball though but left the root crown alone. Didn't take a picture of the potted layer, the guy wire job is pretty hideous. I'm probably going to have to stake the pot or tie it to something else because it's so top heavy...
 

BethF

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Success! (I hope). Today I removed layers from a Japanese maple and a cork barked elm. The maple's roots:
IMG_0260.JPG
and the elm's:
IMG_0260.JPG
Here are the layers:
IMG_0277.JPG
IMG_0268.JPG
Fingers are crossed. The potting mix (3 parts mulemix, 3 parts pine fines, 2 parts horticultural perlite) might be too water-retentive, so I might have to change it. Anyway, thanks, Eric (& Ken & John) for showing me how to do this!
 

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ConorDash

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Jeez them some roots.
Those roots look crazy developed compared to mine lol.
How long did that take?
 

cbroad

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Some animal tried digging up my potted layer...:(, luckily it was wired down. Some of the roots were broken and the root system was exposed for at least 8 hours. I'm thinking it was a raccoon or possum and probably attracted to the biotone I mixed in. Luckily the crape doesn't really seem to be effected.


@BethF
Yeah those are some nice roots! I took 2 Japanese Maple layers and a Winged Elm layer this summer, so I'm definitely interested in how long yours took. Mine are being very slow (much thicker than yours so that might be why), they've callused but haven't seen much in the way of roots, but I might have seen a little pointy protrusion that could become a root. I'm hoping I get some healthy roots like you did.
 

ConorDash

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My comment was actually to you @cbroad I didnt see BethF's comment before I posted lol. Your roots are very thick. I expected to see many thin roots, but yours are massive. How long did it take?
 

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