Should I cut off air-layers now or in Spring?

jerzyjerzy

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I created a number of air-layers around April, May and as late as July.

They are on different species that are located in the 20-kilometer radius around my place in random locations, and I have no control over their environment. I only watered them sporadically during Summer.

All of them are pretty long branches/trunks that I will have to collect as basically stumps with roots.

The point is, I am not convinced the roots on the layers are strong enough to support the stumps yet.

I am trying to consider what will be the best time to harvest them considering their physiology - should it be now, or maybe November when most of the processes will stop (for example, bare-rooted grapes and trees are planted at this time), or maybe in early Spring when they start showing new growth.

I know that roots in air-layers can survive Winter here, I tried it before.

My point is, I will have no control over them for months, and I am not really sure what is the safest bet for them to survive.

Do you have any opinions about timing in this case?

Should I harvest them in the Fall, risking that they will be too weak, or wait till Spring, risking the roots will dry out and die without my care?
 

Cajunrider

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Too many factors. Only you know the extent of root growth you have on each one, the level of care you can give them during the winter. We don't know enough to help you with your decision. That said, for me I would wrap the air layer well to prevent water loss and wait until spring because I can't give tender trees good care in winter given my track record :)
 

River's Edge

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I created a number of air-layers around April, May and as late as July.
Suggest you check each air layer and judge the action appropriately based on what the circumstances are. Some will likely be ready, others best left for another season before separation.
 

jerzyjerzy

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Thank you all for help.

All your posts follow my line of thinking, actually. Too many factors.

It would be much easier if they all were in my garden, and I would have better control over them.

I will check each air layer and assess the situation then :)
 

AJL

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Hi here in England I started a mix of air layers from mother plants in my allotment in May and June this year and so far have successfully separated and potted up 3 Salix, 2 Acer palmatum and 1 Chaenomeles. They were all rooted strongly by August . I pruned them all by @ 25% at the time I separated them. So far all are growing well and not wilting, in fact 1 Acer already needs repotting as the roots are growing so vigorously out of its pot.
I expect your winters are more severe than mine , but if theyre already well rooted I suggest you harvest them within the next 2-3 weeks then keep them in a sheltered shaded environment for the winter, protected from the worst frost and wind.
One of the most important things is to keep them stabilised in their new pots so that the new fragile roots dont get damaged by swaying in windy conditions or when youre moving the pots
 

AJL

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Have you checked your airlayers and decided what to do?
Here is another Acer airlayer I just separated
I then pruned it back by @20% before potting and I will keep in a cold shaded greenhouse over winter
 

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Forsoothe!

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Root are more protected in the ground than anywhere else, especially up in the air where they will cycle wildly over day, night, day, night and get down way below what is a problem temperature for roots in my area, not to speak of deep cold spells that are sporadic, so all mine will be collected by Oct 15th, generously potted, sunk & mulched.
 

Shibui

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Most layers will survive with very few roots, especially when they are dormant so do not need water, etc. Spring sees strong root growth, usually before leaves come, and the trees seem to be able to figure out what to do. I've never lost any poorly rooted layers separated after leaf drop and potted.
When the lifeline disappears it seems the tree suddenly starts to concentrate on growing those new roots.
Another way to think of them is large cuttings. A few small roots puts them way ahead of most other cuttings which are starting with no roots at all. Just treat layers with fewer roots like cuttings - high humidity, never dry, no strong sun, etc and they will soon push more roots and grow strong when spring comes round.
 

jerzyjerzy

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Have you checked your airlayers and decided what to do?
No, not yet :)

I consider I still have 2-3 weeks to do it. I would like them to gather as much energy as possible from the leaves before they drop.

I will collect layers on two old deutzias this week, though, because they were not in the best shape to start with, and they already lost all their leaves. I am not sure they will survive Winter without additional help from my side. They are on an abandoned lot next to my primary school I attended 50 years ago. They were already there at the time so I assume they are at least 60-years old. The layers are over 13 centimeters (5 inches) in diameter, and I think it is some kind of an achievement for a deutzia.
 
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AJL

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No, not yet :)

I consider I still have 2-3 weeks to do it. I would like them to gather as much energy as possible from the leaves before they drop.

I will collect layers on two old deutzias this week, though, because they were not in the best shape to start with, and they already lost all their leaves. I am not sure they will survive Winter without additional help from my side. They are on an abandoned lot next to my primary school I attended 50 years ago. They were already there at the time so I assume they are at least 60-years old. The layers are over 13 centimeters (5 inches) in diameter, and I think it is some kind of an achievement for a deutzia.
Nice bark on Deutzias- can you post photos when you collect them?!
 

jerzyjerzy

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Sure I will :)

I am afraid it was the very last moment for them - there were originally 8 bushes (now rather small trees), and 4 of them died last year and this year. I kept watching them during the years because my mother still lives close by, and they kept looking weaker and weaker lately. I suppose growing 25 or so years on the abandoned, sandy lot without any watering or fertilizing can do this to the ornamental tree.
 

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