The science of air-layering

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The most important thing about an airlayer is making a window thru which you can check progress.

When the roots are full at the window!

Around your regular repotting season if possible.

Rain and Wane sure!

I am close to digging more yard stuff...and removing groundlayers come to think of it...since the leaves are almost opening, buy the waning moon isnt for another week or so....decided waiting is better.

Sorce
Thanks Sorce, I have a window and I can see roots, but they are not full, so I will wait until they are full. Thanks again.
 

rollwithak

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Not really a ideal size. I would say one tip would be to avoid smaller branches if you have a larger choice available. Sizes of a quarter inch don't seem to work as well. Of course you would think the younger wood of a smaller branch might do better, but I think the larger ones have more action up and down form the leaves and roots. I guess I tend to find branches ~1 inch to be a nice size for energy and not being to large. Now if you are doing this on something in a pot that you can really get to, use a pot system for the layer, larger sizes are more manageable. Trying to wrap sphagnum moss around a 4~inch branch is a pain! LOL Different species might have some different ideals, all my layer have Japanese maples.

Which makes sense if you think about it... a tree will want to spread resources to its strongest areas and can afford smaller twigs to go un-repaired.
 

leatherback

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Which makes sense if you think about it... a tree will want to spread resources to its strongest areas and can afford smaller twigs to go un-repaired.
You realize that plants to not make cost-benefit analysis right?
It is all about energy balance, nutrient status and movement of fluids.
 

NOZZLE HEAD

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Has anyone completed a successful air layer on large vine maple branches, 5”. I had a branch break about 18” from its base on my landscape tree in an unusually large snow storm last winter and it threw out a ton of adventitious branches, so I decided to air layer it.

I know they ground layer naturally as their primary means of propagation, so it should be fairly straightforward.

How long should I leave the spagnum/ wrap on the tree?
 

Lazylightningny

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Last year I ground layered 3 trees to improve nebari and roots: an American hornbeam, a winterberry, and a yellow birch. The hornbeam and birch were left in the ground, and the winterberry was layered in a pond basket. All layers were wrapped in sphagnum moss after removing bark and cambium. I sprinkled rooting hormone on all, although I'm not 100% convinced of it's effectiveness. I did this after leaves had hardened off last year, then left in place for one year. I just removed the layer on the hornbeam (leaves just beginning to open), had a nice bunch of new roots. I'm waiting for the buds to elongate on the winterberry and birch before I do the same. I can see new roots on the winterberry, but haven't checked the birch yet.

On the hornbeam, I didn't remove the sphagnum moss, because the delicate new roots were intertwined and I didn't want to risk damaging them. I'm hoping for 3/3 success.

This is the first time I've done a ground layer, mind you. so if a tree-killer like me can do it, anyone can.
 
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I cant thank you enough for taking the time to write this amazing and elaborate article, I'm so grateful.
Could you go into a little bit more detail as to how the phloem and cambium grow? Does the the old cambium turn into xlyem and the xylem doesn't actually grow from the cambium since the xylem is actually dead tissue? Also, in this paragraph you wrote "older inactive heartwood"... Was that perhaps a mistake or am I missing something because I understand heartwood as the center of the tree?
"In the case of a woody tree, the xylem is the "wood" of the tree, and it consists of older, inactive heartwood, and the part of the xylem that still actively transports materials called the sapwood. The phloem is the living layer just below the bark. Separating the xylem and phloem is the vascular cambium - which generates new layers of xylem in the interior of the tree (making the tree thicker) and also new layers of phloem under the bark. The vascular cambium is the part of the tree trunk that heals damage to the trunk".
Thanks again though.
 
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Is it safe to air layer a main trunk of a 15 yr old shrub? My parents wanted to just cut it shorter and throw out what they cut but they accepted my proposal to air layer it for a bonsai.

Its a rose of sharon.

Also asking for proper cutting after the layer, is a regular saw ok?


The pictures show where they want the tree down to, and above the prong of branches have almost 2.5 feet of growth.

Im conflicted between layering the smaller branches before the main trunk since if i used the main trunk for the bonsai i would probably want to go really close to a trunk chop to start primary branches

Would appreciate any and all ideas you are willing to share
 

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NOZZLE HEAD

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Is it safe to air layer a main trunk of a 15 yr old shrub? My parents wanted to just cut it shorter and throw out what they cut but they accepted my proposal to air layer it for a bonsai.

Its a rose of sharon.

Also asking for proper cutting after the layer, is a regular saw ok?


The pictures show where they want the tree down to, and above the prong of branches have almost 2.5 feet of growth.

Im conflicted between layering the smaller branches before the main trunk since if i used the main trunk for the bonsai i would probably want to go really close to a trunk chop to start primary branches

Would appreciate any and all ideas you are willing to share
I say give it a shot, it can’t turn out worse than throwing the branch away.
 

AlainK

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I couldn't find back the thread in which there's a video of (Peter?) Chan explaining his technique of air-layering with sphagum moss.

I tried it, with some apprehension : chemical hormones are now banned here.

I had this air-layer taken years ago that I planted in my garden, but I didn't really pay attention to it, and a big root developped on one side. I uprooted it and put it in a plastic pot in 2018 I think.

acerp21_190404a.jpg

20th June, a bit late, but I've had success with air-layers started in mid-July, so I thought "Why not?":

acerp21_200620a.jpg

A sharp knife, some sphagnum moss soaked with "natural hormones", alcohol to disinfect the knife and the trunk :

acerp21_200620b.jpg

I used the plastic bubble sheet that was at hand (a bit too thick) and filled the bottom with sphagnum moss and a little sand - I had some very good success previously using a medium with almost 90% aquarium sand, so for a first try, I thought I would stay on the safe side :

acerp21_200620d.jpg

I then completed with 100% sphagnum moss :

acerp21_200620e.jpg

Today, 4 weeks later, I carefully removed some of the sphagnum and I could see new roots :

acerp21_200718a.jpg

I'll be away for a few days next week, I hope that the people who are supposed to come and water my tree won't forget : no rain in the past 3 weeks, 30° today, between 28 and 32 (82.4/89.6) next week, and when they say 32 it's usually 34-35 here (93.2/95). And no rain for the next two weeks...
 

leatherback

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Here too, very fast roots. Cannot find when I put it, but it was June sometime. Separated yesterday. (Yes, I separate with very few roots)

1595228678093.png
 

johnbaz

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WOW!!- What a brilliant thread!! 🤩 🤩

I have a tall-ish (Around30") Larix that I would like to reduce slightly, It would also make for a better taper too!, From what i've read, Larch can be a little difficult to root, I wonder if anyone has done Larch on here?

It will only reduce the height by a small amount and the layer (If it takes) will only be small!!


This would hopefully be the extra (New!) tree, A Shohin sized one.


And the new leader..


Having never done an air layer before, I'm a bit nervous, I've been going to attempt it for the last two years but chickened out both times!!

I also have a couple of acers that split in to two trunks higher up that would make a couple of Shohin sized trees with excellent movement!!

I'd love to hear from anyone that's successfully air layered a Larch 👍👌


Kind regards, John :)
 

AlainK

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Air-layering an acer palmatum. The air-layer should have been removed much earlier, but I think it will be OK.

marc-acer_200919a.jpg marc-acer_200919b.jpg marc-acer_200919c.jpg marc-acer_200919d.jpg marc-acer_200919e.jpg marc-acer_200919f.jpg
 

John P.

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leatherback

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I'd love to hear from anyone that's successfully air layered a Larch 👍👌
I have done some root improvement on larch: Tourniquette just about the nebari. Planted deep, fertilized. Sun. At the end of the seaon it had strangled the trunk enough for roots to show up. Did not do anything special. Just a 2mm wire wrapped 3 times around the trunk, end intertwined. Done.
 

johnbaz

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I have done some root improvement on larch: Tourniquette just about the nebari. Planted deep, fertilized. Sun. At the end of the seaon it had strangled the trunk enough for roots to show up. Did not do anything special. Just a 2mm wire wrapped 3 times around the trunk, end intertwined. Done.


Many thanks @leatherback, I'm going to have a go when the needles have hardened off next year!


Cheers, John 👍
 

AlainK

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I have done some root improvement on larch: Tourniquette just about the nebari.

Very interesting, thanks.

I've never succeded in taking cuttings from larch, so knowing that air-layering can be successful is good news to me.

PS : I always smile when I read the English "tourniquet", not "tourniquette" which would be either the feminine of "tourniquet", or a feminine pet-name. Not that I reproach you with anything, or even blame you for anything, but "tourniquet" being a French word (like about 40% of the English language, plain, or disguised), it's funny to see how non-English natives use English words that are actually French words (most of them of Latin origin).

This is more or less what was "un tourniquet" when I was 5 or 6 years old :



"une tourniquette" doesn't exist in French :

I don't want to develop, but it even has some link with collective sexual aggression, like "tournante" which means gang rape.

;)
 

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