It’s that time of the year, when the sap is flowing and the wood is getting hard. When the hormones are beginning to do their chemical wonders and the smell of propagation is in the air. Cuttings, seed, and air layering!
I’ll again be doing a Brazilian Raintree but also: podocarpus, hackberry, elm and ficus. And an experimental air layer: nea buxifolia !
I think I’ll make this a yearly post. And I’ll try different trees and we shall see what works and what doesn’t.
Lets try an easy one first.
Ulmus alatta: the winged elm.
The key to air layering success is including, underneath your moss, the presence of buds. Not that kind of bud, childish.
A bud is a place where, in bright, clean sunlight, a verdant leaf and branch will emerge. But in cold, wet, darkness pale, maggot like growth will push forth; magically, sending, searching, snaking long tendril-like fingers in reaching for purchase and sustenance.
Roots, in other words.
So it’s a good idea to pick species that have evident buds when we are air layering.
Like an elm.
This is an experiment with this nea. I’ve never heard of anyone attempting it but, since we have to cut it back to induce taper, why not try to save the top. Right? It can be grown from cuttings so it might be possible.
When you make your ring cut
You will notice that you have the bark, then the layer under that (which could be green, red, orange, yellow). Peel off all that until you get to the wood.
Grab a handful of sphagnum moss (wear gloves) and some aluminum foil
so the next several pics show my corillo at work.
If you remember the Rogues Gallery post (here) I promised a side by side comparison on the efficacy of a cutting compared to an air layer on a ficus.
It was these trees
The advantage to the chop method: the bottom tree will be a bonsai quicker.
This makes me want to sing. I filked a song for the occasion.
Watch it on YouTube here (Cut It Back). My apologies to the Stones.
Here’s a big raintree
Both of these trees are in the ground. Which answers that question.
The podo was just cut back heavily and has exploded with growth. I plan on collecting it next year. It’s about 7 feet tall at the moment and will be cut back to about 3 feet after collection. So I says to myself
“Yo, self! Since youze’r doin’ sum layerin’, why ain’t youze try a podo?”
I looked up if people had done it and, yes, they had. And had success, so….here we are.
Now, I’ve tried to air layer the hackberry before.
It defeated me. It just healed over the cut end. Which surprised the hell outa me.
This time I will succeed. Or have some nice pics to blog about.
Ring cut, extra wide
Which I intend to collect next year as well.
Do you have your fingers crossed?
Will we do the impossible (air layer a nea) and the uncommon (a podocarpus); will the hackberry laugh at us again?
Stay tuned (or check back in a few months.)
All your questions and more will be answered.
Or I’ll make soup.