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Have You Done Any Air Layering

Discussion in 'Trees' started by weedaway, Aug 18, 2020.

  1. misterQ

    misterQ Super Gardener

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    The lowest branch is just in the right place to act as a sacrificial branch which will thicken the base of the tree. I will remove it in due course.

    The theory is that the branch acts like a cantilever on the trunk, so the trunk will build mass around the junction point in order to support the branch as it grows.

    For aesthetics, I will probably also remove the lower left branch, otherwise, I will get very low hanging fruit.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2020
  2. weedaway

    weedaway Gardener

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    What is the ideal thickness size of branch to do an air layer propagation.
     
  3. Cuttings

    Cuttings Super Gardener

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    I understand, its a process used in thickening the trunk in Bonsai, however, for it to be effective, you need a branch either side of the trunk.
     
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    • weedaway

      weedaway Gardener

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      Can anyone help me with this question please.
       
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      • misterQ

        misterQ Super Gardener

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        I would say the ideal thickness of branch for a beginner is between 10-25mm. Of course, you could do thinner and thicker branches or even the main trunk.

        Most beginners are not confident with their blade skills so they are either heavy handed with thin branches (about 5mm) or have difficulty in cutting the ring bark and balling the growing medium on thicker branches.

        Usually, they are afraid of hurting the plant so are very conservative with the cutting of the bark and the scraping of the surface below - this is the main cause of failure. The whole point of layering is to purposely wound the plant in order to provoke a root growth response.

        I ran some air layering workshops as part of our community garden and the above was what I observed in all of the novices.
         
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        • Cuttings

          Cuttings Super Gardener

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          I was going to answer earlier, but been busy, the ideal size is from pencil thick, up to 2 inch diameter, you can go thicker, but the technque works better in those width ranges. Pencil thick, you could do hard wood cuttings instead, it depends on the plant, Enkianthus, Acers tend to do better from air layering, whilst climbers like Wisteria, Bourgainvillea are better done by layering or hardwood cuttings. And fruit trees, better from air layering, approx 1inch diameter, as the tree will fruit in a year or two, rather than 5 to 7 years from seed or cutting, most of the Citrus fruit you see in garden centres are produced this way.
           
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          • weedaway

            weedaway Gardener

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            As I am cutting away the dense thicket I am beginning to find some of my trees and shrubs, these are the ones I would like to propagate from air layering and start from the beginning with them again, if I knew how.

            I found my apple tree, my magnolia tree and my red maple tree but I am not sure what or where to cut the ring bark.

            I think everything has gone spindly because they were fighting for light above all the brambles etc.

            24.JPG25.JPG

            26.JPG
             
          • Cuttings

            Cuttings Super Gardener

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            Maybe this site will help, until I take some step by step photo's later this week.

            Epic Gardening: Daily Growing Tips and Advice: How to Air Layer Propagate a Plant
             
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            • weedaway

              weedaway Gardener

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              Ooh' a tutorial :dbgrtmb:, I can't wait, I'll bring the popcorn and dim the lights down.
               
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              • pete

                pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                I really like the sharp sterilized knife used in the first picture.:biggrin:
                 
              • weedaway

                weedaway Gardener

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                @Cuttings have you had time to take some step by step photo's yet please, I am keen to get as much of my garden sorted out with what is left of this year trying to save as many shrubs and trees as possible. (no pressure) :biggrin:
                 
              • Cuttings

                Cuttings Super Gardener

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                I have taken some photo's, but I thought a video, would be better, so I will get onto that, but will put a sort of step by step guide, I will keep it as basic as I can.

                On your doner plant, select a part of the plant that will make a good balanced plant once the roots have formed, identify a good place to wound the plant, I use these new pods we talked about earlier, take one of these pods, and fill either side with a low nutrient compost (seed and cutting), the reason we use low nutrient is because, when the little roots form, the low nutrient makes the roots go looking for the nutrients, resulting in a larger root ball, and less chance of damping off, the compost I have used is Levingtons F1.
                IMG_20200829_125135.jpg

                Dampen the soil to a dark brown colour, and when squeezed together the soil holds breifly, then falls apart, now having identified where you want the roots to be, for @pete take a sharp sterile knife.
                IMG_20200829_124605.jpg
                When making the wound, keep in mind, you only want to cut approx 1mm into the tree, basicly, a shrub/tree has 3 layers, the bark, cambium, phleom, the bark is protective, the other 2 take the goodies the plant makes around the plant, one from the roots to the leaves, the other takes the processed nutrients back around the plant, you only need to cut through these layers, you need to make 2 circular cuts right around the branch about 1cm apart.
                IMG_20200829_124721.jpg
                As seen by the wet marks in this photo, no make a single vertical cut, from the top cut to the lower cut, use your knife to peel on corner created by the vertical cut, once lose, you should be able to peel the flesh away, leaving a ring.
                IMG_20200829_124814.jpg
                Now place the pod, so the wound is in at the top 1/3 of the pod, close the pod, and lockmin place.
                IMG_20200829_125259.jpg
                Now, it depends on the plant, it will take between 3 and 8 weeks for the roots to form, you can use a rooting hormone, if you have some, I do not use these poweders or gels, on this or cuttings, the only other thing to remember is not to let the pod to dry out, and when rooted cut just below the rootball, and plant up, and to prune the doner branch back to dormant buds. This is a very basic guide, and I will try and video the process, as I have a few Physocarpus stock plants to airlayer, and goninto a bit more detail, who knows, I might even be able to cut straight.
                 
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                • pete

                  pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                  I have a question:smile:

                  If it takes say 8 weeks to form roots that brings us to end of october, would you suggest that it is still ok to sever the rooted section and pot it up, on deciduous plants, or could it be left on over winter and cut next spring?
                   
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                  • weedaway

                    weedaway Gardener

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                    Superb @Cuttings very helpful, thank you

                    cant wait for the video, :dbgrtmb:

                    Will I need to cut the ring bark just below a node please.
                     
                  • Cuttings

                    Cuttings Super Gardener

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                    Always best to
                     
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