trident air layer??

the3rdon

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I want to shorten this trident to the very first branch to the left.. Should I put an air layer right above and have two tridents? Hate to waste that much of a good tree.. How long does an air layer usually take and how do I feed the new pot for roots to grow?
 

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the3rdon

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GREAT video!! My main question is, will a trident typically form enough rootage through spring and summer to be chopped and put into a grow pot/ squat pot?
 

mholt

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I don't want to be the blind leading someone else so would prefer someone else with more experience chime in. I generally believed the layer is left on the parent tree until the following spring. I would assume it would depend on a few factors. It would depend on the success of root colonization in the layer at that time and then your overwintering techniques. Are the roots going to be most comfortable on the parent tree over winter or are they going to be able to establish themselves enough in a pot during the fall to endure the winter? Being a trident, I would think special attention would be needed to avoid winter damage to these new roots. Hopefully someone else will give their input since I merely answered your questions with more questions.
 

the3rdon

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That's ok.. There are a lot of knowledge filled nuts on here that will have good answers.. I could just chop it to where I want it, but I feel like I'd be wasting a lot of tree that would have a 2 1/4" trunk right off the rip..
 

mholt

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Also, for what it's worth, I put some bare-root trident whips in the ground last fall here in zone 5. They anchored themselves rapidly, endured our winter, and are currently leafing out like crazy. I did the same with some in pots, stored them over winter, and they are currently slowly pushing their buds.
 

rockm

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"I could just chop it to where I want it, but I feel like I'd be wasting a lot of tree that would have a 2 1/4" trunk right off the rip.."

Here's the thing--you have to learn to tell the difference between "wasting" part of a tree and simply "working" on the main objective.

The upper two thirds of this tree have no taper, no significant branching, and very little interest visually. It's pretty mediocre tree material in other words. The lower section, which you correctly emphasize with that big trunk chop is where the action is on this tree.

Here's where you are:

You can air layer the upper trunk, waiting two or three months for new roots (and yeah, you must sever the layer in late spring or summer since exposed air layer die off in winter.) This will require delaying work on the lower trunk for most, if not all, of this year's growing season --you can't really do anything to the main tree as you air layer the top.

While the air layer MAY eventually work into a mediocre tree (which will have to have taper forced into it after the nebari has been developed-which could take a few years in-ground).

The bottom line --is the air layer section worth sacrificing development time on the main specimen? In this case, I'd say no--but that's me.

The old "you've gotta break some eggs to make an omelet" applies here. You're not "wasting" anything by simply chopping the trunk and getting on with it. You could be wasting time by air layering this...
 
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the3rdon

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I like the way u think rock, cuz I already chopped it... Ur exactly right, it is very boring all the wat to the top of that tree.. Pics to follow..
 

mholt

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Rock, is the separation of the layer during summer for most species or species like tridents with less hardy roots?
 

mholt

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Good call the3rdon. I didn't want to be the one to say what Rock said. I had a similar decision to make with a couple large Amurs. I could have had a dozen or so air layers going of featureless branches or get started on my main objective. I went with the chops.
 

the3rdon

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No doubt.. Plus this hobby kinda takes over ur life.. So when in doubt, chop that sombich.. Lol!
 

rockm

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Mholt,

Air layers can't survive freezing temps. There aren't may species I can think of that could survive consistently. The environment above ground in winter is too inconsistent and harsh.

True, roots can and do survive freezing in the ground, but exposed to the air is a different story. The ground offer a vast temperature and moisture buffer for plants. In ground plants roots in temperate zones generally don't freeze until the end of Dec. It takes a while to freeze that much dirt.

With an air layer, it's a completely different story. Desiscating winds, extreme and volitile temperature fluctuations, sun exposure (light getting into the air layer can mean heat build up in plastic during a winter's day, but an immediate plunge back below freezing) will kill off most roots in an air layer relatively easily.
 

mholt

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Rock, but as far as air-layering a tree already in a pot which would receive winter protection itself, say in a garage with the layer insulated with bubble wrap, wouldn't that be fine to leave on for the winter?....or at least equivalent to that of a newly potted before winter? Does this lead to potential fungal problems however being sealed up with plastic? Sorry the3rdon for continually hijacking your thread with more questions.
 

rockm

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No. Air layers are subject to the air and the accompanying drastic temp fluctuations. Even in a protected area, they could get zapped with freezing temperatures and they have no protection from it--plastic is not a great insulator.

Root growth is negligible in dormant trees in any case. An air layer on an overwintering tree are about as useful as tits on a bull :D and twice as vulnerable. That's why air layers are generally started in mid-spring--with an eye for removal by mid-or late summer. Beyond mid summer, the chances of a successful air layer drop dramatically, as trees cease active growth and begin preparing for winter.
 

Bill S

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Matt the trick is there is no trick, with a tree that you protect for the overwinter in a shed/garage you are trying to keep it actually just above freezing w/ 34-38 F. as the optimal range for dormancy, this takes you away from freezing the root mass. So if your question is if there aren't enough roots produced then wait till the following year and protect it.

Now with tridents I would expect enough roots to do it this year.
 

mholt

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Thanks for the info Rock. I just recall reading in one of my books, The Art of Natural Bonsai by Dave Joyce, a case study of him doing an air layer (Acer palmatum) in spring and cutting it off the following spring. I'm sure their UK winters are much less drastic than mine or perhaps he got lucky. I just don't know for sure but I feel like my assumption for timing of removal came from other sources as well. Oh, and I'm not trying to challenge yours or anyone elses knowledge/experience...just trying to sort out best possible avenues if/when I would undergo that.
 

mholt

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Bill, I was wondering what factors determine removal. As you mentioned, number of roots, is one. Others were environment/protection and species, etc. One of my early posts on this thread I mentioned I put some tridents, bare root into the ground in the fall. I had to move one or two a week or two later and upon digging, the roots had really taken off. From that simple experience I figured that trident roots really took off. I had thought they were fully dormant at the time of first planting and thought their chances as young as they are and late in the season during our winter wouldn't make it so I put some in pots and protected them as well. Well, the ground was warm enough for the tridents to continually grow roots. As far as overwintering goes, I had 40 trees potted in the fall and placed in my cellar stairway and most of the winter the soil in pots was frozen. A few times when it looked either dry or warmed up I lifted the cellar doors and dumped snow on them. All are leafing out now with a handful of them with buds about to burst. Ones in the ground are further along.
 

the3rdon

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" Sorry the3rdon for continually hijacking your thread with more questions."

No problemo.. I'm learning with everybodies questions.. I am a spongue... :D
 

Smoke

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I dated a spongue once....she would have been considered rude here....
 

rockm

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"The Art of Natural Bonsai by Dave Joyce"


I have the book...Let's just say, I wouldn't take everything in there as "expert" knowledge...
 
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