Stewartia Monadelpha


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Greensboro, NC
Has anyone ever had any luck air layering or ground layering one of these? I bought one a few years ago, which only had three large roots shooting straight down at the base. I was told that it would layer easily, so it’s been in the ground with bands (zip ties) around each of the three roots.It is swelling at the base, but no roots yet. Earlier in the late summer, I made some vertical slits and applied rooting hormone. Still nothing. If people have been successful, I may need to just give it more time, or I could be more aggressive and cut an actual band of bark at the base. This would make it do some thing or die.

Leo in N E Illinois

Imperial Masterpiece
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on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
Time, give it time. And make certain the areas you want new roots to sprout are buried more than 1/2 inch below the surface of the potting mix. If the area you want roots to form dries out at all (as it would if it was only shallowly covered with media) then roots will not form. The area where roots are needed must stay evenly moist.

Using constriction bands to force a ground layer can take 2 to 5 years to work. (growing seasons) The benefit is that the probability is very high that the tree will survive. In order to work the tree must grow, in order to increase the diameter of the trunk and roots to cause the constriction needed to force the layering. Let the top branches grow wild while doing the ground layer in order to force the process.

Cutting a band, removing bark & cambium, is more risky. There is always a chance of failure with this method. The new roots will form more quickly, usually within one growing season, though sometimes it will take more time. But this method does not have a 100% success rate. If timing is off, or you prune too much of the growing branches, it can fail.

I have not air layered a Stewartia yet. I've air layered other trees, multiple times, such as Malus and JBP with success. I do have a Stewartia in an Anderson flat.

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