Shishigashira Air Layer Project

Grant Hamby

Shohin
Messages
482
Reaction score
1,051
Location
Springfield, MO
USDA Zone
6
I got this tree when I first started bonsai (last summer) from a local nursery. That was before I knew about weird grafts and long boring trunks, so this spring I tried to air layer it. I watched the Graham Potter video a couple times and then went to work. It's fall now and nothing but callous. It's a nice callous though.

Now, this past week, all the leaves have been shriveling up and drying out with no trace of autumn color. The twigs are all still green and flexy. Today I cut all the leaves off and put it in the garage in hopes it would go to sleep.

Questions: What can I do about this failed air layer? Why did the leaves dry up?

Here's the tree:
IMG_2751.JPG
 

Dav4

Drop Branch Murphy
Messages
10,423
Reaction score
18,467
Location
North Georgia/lived in MA until 2009
USDA Zone
7b
W need to see the actual layer site to make any comments concerning the layer and why it might have failed. Fwiw, the tree in the photo above appears to be alive and healthy, though seeing how the leaves appeared right before you removed them might have been useful.
 

Grant Hamby

Shohin
Messages
482
Reaction score
1,051
Location
Springfield, MO
USDA Zone
6
I have some leaves laying around. I'll pick them up and also get a shot of the layer site.
 

Grant Hamby

Shohin
Messages
482
Reaction score
1,051
Location
Springfield, MO
USDA Zone
6
This is a good representation of all the leaves before I cut them.
IMG_2752.JPG

And here is the callous. Notice I made the cut below the graft because 1. I wanted to keep that branch as the first branch and 2. I'm still fairly noobish.
IMG_2755.JPG
 

petegreg

Masterpiece
Messages
2,716
Reaction score
3,641
Location
Slovakia
USDA Zone
6a
Hm, have you experienced the frosts this year? It's highly possible...
http://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-missouri-first-frost-date-map.php
The best thing I think you can do is to pack the AL back, keep it slightly wet in the winter a protect from freezing. It can continue pushing roots in the spring, or at least the parrent tree might bud out.
 

Grant Hamby

Shohin
Messages
482
Reaction score
1,051
Location
Springfield, MO
USDA Zone
6
It did get pretty chilly a couple nights, I wasn't aware of a frost, though. That doesn't mean it didn't.

Thanks for the advice! Will I need to re-scar the callous tissue or just keep it wrapped and let it do its thing?
 

Stan Kengai

Omono
Messages
1,109
Reaction score
1,198
Location
North Georgia
USDA Zone
7a
To get the best success air layering, your plant has to be growing strongly. It looks like your plant is in a bonsai pot, albeit on the larger side. Next time try it growing in a slightly over-sized nursery can, which will provide plenty of room for root run. When roots stop growing, the top also stops.
 

Grant Hamby

Shohin
Messages
482
Reaction score
1,051
Location
Springfield, MO
USDA Zone
6
To get the best success air layering, your plant has to be growing strongly. It looks like your plant is in a bonsai pot, albeit on the larger side. Next time try it growing in a slightly over-sized nursery can, which will provide plenty of room for root run. When roots stop growing, the top also stops.
Ahh that makes sense. I'll definitely do that. Should I slip pot it now or wait till spring and do a proper repot?
 

0soyoung

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
5,953
Reaction score
9,341
Location
Anacortes, WA (AHS heat zone 1)
USDA Zone
8b
To me it is pretty clear that you defoliated properly (i.e., that you cut all the leaf petioles - I've never seen any acer palmatum drop leaves leaving the petioles on the tree) as the petioles are still on the tree. The fat spot at each of their bases is a leaf bud --> the tree isn't dead (yet?).

The callus looks fine to me. In my cool summer climate, I frequently have to continue acer palmatum air layers over the winter. Noting happens during the winter, but the process of generating roots will resume next spring after the leaves are out. Meanwhile, during this winter you don't need to do anything special with regard to the girdle (if you had the beginnings of roots you would need to add extra winter protection to hopefully save them, else you would be where you are now if they got frost bit).

Your worry is that you must get roots by about next July or it will likely die. There is no foliage below the girdle, therefore the roots live solely on starches they had stored prior to your cutting the girdle. That is how it has worked out for me - I lost a few trees just this way.
 

Grant Hamby

Shohin
Messages
482
Reaction score
1,051
Location
Springfield, MO
USDA Zone
6
Thanks, Osoyoung. The wrap is back on and the tree is on a shelf in the garage. Hopefully the spring update will be positive.
 

petegreg

Masterpiece
Messages
2,716
Reaction score
3,641
Location
Slovakia
USDA Zone
6a
It did get pretty chilly a couple nights, I wasn't aware of a frost, though. That doesn't mean it didn't.

Thanks for the advice! Will I need to re-scar the callous tissue or just keep it wrapped and let it do its thing?
Nope, nothing but careful packing.
 

0soyoung

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
5,953
Reaction score
9,341
Location
Anacortes, WA (AHS heat zone 1)
USDA Zone
8b
Thanks, Osoyoung. The wrap is back on and the tree is on a shelf in the garage. Hopefully the spring update will be positive.
Check it from time to time and water as necessary. People loose lots of trees in storage because they 'forget' and let them dry out.
 
Messages
1,629
Reaction score
2,425
Location
Belgium
Callus and no roots, often to dry or to wet. Try an other medium. There is no foliage under the layer, so it is all or nothing. I hope you get a good flush in spring and good temps to get the layer going, otherwise the leaves will dry in as little as one day (first hot temps in late spring). I would not disturb the roots of the mother plant.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
22,375
Reaction score
30,016
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
My elm did the same, it's leaves are falling off but the rest is still on.
Twigs still green, buds ok.

I think they will make root in spring.

Yours looks like about one more warm month and it was gonna root.

Sorce
 

Grant Hamby

Shohin
Messages
482
Reaction score
1,051
Location
Springfield, MO
USDA Zone
6
Callus and no roots, often to dry or to wet. Try an other medium.
I really think it was too wet.

My elm did the same, it's leaves are falling off but the rest is still on.
Twigs still green, buds ok.

I think they will make root in spring.

Yours looks like about one more warm month and it was gonna root.

Sorce
Maybe I'll try out my new Radialayer™ idea on this tree. I'd love to get some roots, this was my first JM.
 

Grant Hamby

Shohin
Messages
482
Reaction score
1,051
Location
Springfield, MO
USDA Zone
6
Got the new Radialayer on there with some bonsai soil topped with chopped sphagnum. Hope that solves all my problems come springtime.
IMG_2774.JPG
 

Grant Hamby

Shohin
Messages
482
Reaction score
1,051
Location
Springfield, MO
USDA Zone
6
There are grey areas showing up on the trunk & branches... is this a bad omen? (One of them is cut paste.)

IMG_2909.JPG
 

MACH5

Masterpiece
Messages
4,780
Reaction score
17,703
Location
Northern New Jersey
Grant sorry my friend, but this is not good! Black is NEVER a good thing in Japanese maples. Also notice the wrinkles on the bark. I doubt this tree will live. But nothing to do now but wait as Dave said. You win some, you loose some. All part of the game.
 

Grant Hamby

Shohin
Messages
482
Reaction score
1,051
Location
Springfield, MO
USDA Zone
6
I kind of assumed it meant the tree is doomed... oh well. I've learned quite a bit from this tree. It was probably not healthy enough to do the air-layer in the first place, and hopefully I won't make that mistake again. I will be on the lookout for more shishi's though! I do love the cultivar.
 

Similar threads


Top Bottom