airlayer vs branch removal impact question

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airlayer vs branch removal impact question

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:14 pm

just curious if someone has solid knowledge about this...

does taking an airlayer affect the health of deciduous material any different than simply removing the branch ?

i am asking this in a general manner but also specifically regarding larch.

my thought is that it does not.

thanks


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Re: airlayer vs branch removal impact question

Post  Dave Murphy on Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:20 am

I would hazard that an air layer will "weaken" a tree more so then just the removal of the branch would. My reasoning is that the tree and the roots must support the branch and foliage while the layer is in place... the energy produced by the foliage on the layer doesn't nourish the tree's roots but is used to grow a new root system for the branch which the tree never recoups.

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Re: airlayer vs branch removal impact question

Post  Bruce Winter on Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:01 am

[quote=... the energy produced by the foliage on the layer doesn't nourish the tree's roots .[/quote]

But then if there is no branch? I don't think it makes a difference.

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Re: airlayer vs branch removal impact question

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:54 pm

dave - reply to bruce ?


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Re: airlayer vs branch removal impact question

Post  Marty Weiser on Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:57 am

To follow up on Dave's comment, the tree's roots are supplying water and some nutrients to the airlayered branch so the airlayer costs the tree energy. However, the airlayered branch does not provide any energy to the tree. Consequently the airlayer costs the tree more than simply removing the branch (unless the cut bleeds more than the airlayer consumes). Simple thermodynamics (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) is that you can't get something for nothing (at least not from an energy standpoint).

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Re: airlayer vs branch removal impact question

Post  kevin stoeveken on Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:59 am

thanks marty... you took my conflicting thoughts and put them into a clear perspective that seems to make sense.


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Re: airlayer vs branch removal impact question

Post  Vance Wood on Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:47 pm

kevin stoeveken wrote:thanks marty... you took my conflicting thoughts and put them into a clear perspective that seems to make sense.


Sometimes what seems logical can be logical based on a false or wrong premise.  If you accept one set of facts to be correct and then ask questions based on that set of facts as an axiom in reference to another related question as yet undetermined, the real answer may be unexpected.  I think the idea that the branch making a transformation into a tree by producing new roots is of no impact to the tree at all.  Layering is a natural occurrence in many species of trees, you have mentioned Larch, which are self layering all og the time depending on the environment where they are found.  If you dig Larch from the kind of boggy environment where they are frequently found you will see a tree that has layered itself to keep the surface roots within a tolerable distance from the top of an increasing level of bog surface where they occur.  I hope you understand this.  Logically;  the wound on the tree where the cut to form a layer occurs will put a drain on the tree just about as much as eliminating the branch would.  A large wound on a conifer will take at least a year to heal.
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Re: airlayer vs branch removal impact question

Post  Bruce Winter on Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:43 pm

Makes sense to me. But only a botanist would know for sure. "Botanists are well-versed in the identification and classification of plant life, the biochemical functions and processes of plants and the various plant diseases and cures."

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Re: airlayer vs branch removal impact question

Post  bilbo on Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:10 pm

This is a particularly interesting topic for me.
Not just because I have a deep back ground on this specialty, but also with regard to a new topic I just posted about my JBP Thunderhead.

Kevin,
The short answer here is, it could, yes, it could.

From my experience there are some factors involved which have not yet been mentioned by others.
Perhaps the most significant of which is the branch in question.
In relation to the overall tree, is the branch large/small/medium?
Does the branch itself represent a significant portion of the overall foliage?

Dave touched on something which is actually true, but whose impact, like so many things is a question of degree.
A small branch, whose energy output for the over all tree is not significant, will not significantly negatively impact the health of the tree during the layering process.
Yes, there is a brief period where the layered branch is gaining from the original roots without returning the favor to the tree, but if the tree was not significantly in need of that energy, while the situation is technically true, the impact (if any) is negligible.
Conversely, you can see where if the branch is large, and the tree really does need that energy, there would certainly be an impact.

There is BRILLIANT VIDEO on youtube about air layering which really exploits this reality.
These guys actually air layer the ENTIRE TREE (6 to 8 feet of tree) off the top of what will ultimately be the bonsai underneath.
Now, in this scenario, CLEARLY since almost the entire tree is above the layer, the original roots get almost no return energy when compared to what it had before the layer was put in place.
But then since the original roots ultimately need only to support the small 1 foot bonsai at the bottom, the impact is nil. In fact, I suspect they actually increase their success rate doing it this way because during the air layer process, there is huge stress on the upper part of the tree, hence the desperate explosion of roots.
And WOW, these guys get EXPLOSIONS OF ROOTS.
Then they replant the actual tree, and keep the bottom part as a real nice bonsai with a thick trunk.
Anyway, my thinking is, whether or not they know it, I believe they are exploiting the reality of Dave's observation to their benefit.

There are of course other factors which could effect the net impact to the tree during the layering process.
So frequently I see opinions/explanations/answers which seek to, knowingly or not, create a black and white world where there is only one answer.
I may be new to bonsai, but I am not new to layering, and I can assure you, there is not one answer.

Going back to my first line, yes, depending on many factors, it could have a negative impact on the over all health of the tree.
That said, most likely, even if there is an impact, that impact would be small.

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Re: airlayer vs branch removal impact question

Post  Bruce Winter on Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:56 am

Ahso. This is getting juicy. Layering is one of the most rewarding things I do. I spend a lot of time under trees looking for branches with movement. There are those who worry about me. Laughing By far the most challenging work here is ground-layering Metrosideros polymorpha. Ohi'a. The whole tree. They grow on pahoehoe, a form of lava flow of basaltic rock in a desert near me in the shadow of Mouna Loa. 5" of rain per year and a warm wind all day 20 minutes from me where last year it rained 200". Go figure. The rule of thumb for determining age is 100 years per caliper inch at the soil line. The ones on my benches are 1 to 5 inches. The beauty of this method for bonsai is not having to slowly reduce the roots over time but rather plopping the tree directly into a bonsai pot. You can see some of these trees on my FB page but I'll put some up here, I think. Rolling Eyes
Still though...I love maples and always have a bunch of layers going along with camellia, azalea and vireya.




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Re: airlayer vs branch removal impact question

Post  Bruce Winter on Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:01 am

Woah! A new way tp post Pix! It's great! forgot one.

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Re: airlayer vs branch removal impact question

Post  kevin stoeveken on Fri Mar 24, 2017 2:34 pm

bilbo, and everyone else... thanks for the well thought out and informative replies...

i suppose the most important thing i have gleaned is to, as bilbo says, consider the AMOUNT of impact based on the size of the removal...

considering that, and the state of the roots when i repotted it a week ago, i believe i am best off waiting another year so that the portion i was going to remove (not huge, but neither insignificant) can instead contribute to the vigor of its nether regions...

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Re: airlayer vs branch removal impact question

Post  my nellie on Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:16 pm

Very interesting! Thank you all!
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Re: airlayer vs branch removal impact question

Post  AlainK on Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:26 pm

kevin stoeveken wrote:
(...) does taking an airlayer affect the health of deciduous material any different than simply removing the branch ? (...)

No, it won't.

PS:
And thanks to all those who shared their very useful experience regarding Larch, hu hu...


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