Airlayering Size Limit? (Japanese Maple)

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Airlayering Size Limit? (Japanese Maple)

Post  Jesse on Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:38 pm

Is there a size limit regarding trunk circumference/diameter and how successful an air layer can/will be? On that note, there is a yard grown Japanese maple I have permission to dig or airlayer. It is has medium to small'ish sized red leaves and I could not tell see a graft line that I recall. I will grab a pic and post it in a few weeks when I see it again and study it much more closely--it has been a while since I have seen it. Right now, I'm guessing the trunk is in the ball park of 8 inches in diameter and I am guesstimating it to be around 9-12 tall and wide. Any thoughts? Is this just a ridiculous pipe dream? I'm guessing that Japanese maples in general are difficult to airlayer...

Main reasoning for an air layer over a dig is the location being wedged right next to the house and driveway and it sits pretty much on top of a gas line. The second would be that most interesting portion is about two to three feet up where the trunk splits with nice movement in to two main branches.

Jesse
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Re: Airlayering Size Limit? (Japanese Maple)

Post  Poink88 on Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:50 pm

Please post pics of the tree and the leaves. From what I've read, red maple is very difficult to airlayer...or takes much longer than the other varieties.

The deal breaker for me on the dig is the gas line...do you know how deep it is? In big construction we usually "pot hole" (slow hand digging) for it say a few feet before the tree and after and investigate where the line really is and how deep. You can then manually dig the tree taking all precautions and staying no less than 6" from it. If you can shut the valve off before the dig spot...much better and safer.

BTW, here is Austin, you can call the City and they will locate and mark the line for you. They have a say whether you can dig or not on top of a gas (or other utility) line too (even in your own property). In this case, they will most likely say you cannot due to safety reasons.

Remember that no tree is worth your life...be prepared to walk away from it if needed. Good luck!


Last edited by Poink88 on Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:14 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Airlayering Size Limit? (Japanese Maple)

Post  Jesse on Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:12 pm

Poink88 wrote:From what I've read, red maple is very difficult to airlayer...or takes much longer than the other varieties.
Ya, I was concerned about that as I see very little in the way of postings regarding attempts to do so. Anybody here had success performing an air layer on a red maple?

Jesse
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Re: Airlayering Size Limit? (Japanese Maple)

Post  sunip on Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:38 pm

Hello.
It should not be that difficult.
Layer it in may jun and take it off next year.
Others do it in spring and in june you can saw the trunk
But leave the foliage on the tree during the process so the new roots get food.
I can not say anything about size limits.
Sunip Wink

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Re: Airlayering Size Limit? (Japanese Maple)

Post  Jesse on Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:59 am

We have fairly cold winters here in Utah. Are you saying set the air layer in the spring and saw it off June of the same year or set the air layer in May/June and then saw it in 1 year? If it is the latter, any tips on how to weather a cold winter with an air layer?

Right now my best guess would be to try to set the air layer as early this spring as possible and wrapping some some Christmas lights around it if we get a late freeze to keep any developments from being damaged. Then waiting until late summer/early fall to chop it. Or does this need to somehow make it through a winter and part of another growing season to have a legitimate chance at making it? Any error in my reasoning that can be pointed out would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Jesse

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Re: Airlayering Size Limit? (Japanese Maple)

Post  drgonzo on Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:24 am

" Are you saying set the air layer in the spring and saw it off June of the same year or set the air layer in May/June and then saw it in 1 year?"

Set the Layer just as the first flush of leaves begins to harden off. Some do it earlier than that but thats when the leaves will begin producing sugars to send down the Phloem tissue and begin forming the callus, then the roots. Look to the growth state of the tree, dont think about a "time" of year

" wrapping some some Christmas lights around it if we get a late freeze to keep any developments from being damaged."

rooting will probably not even have started, The tree must callus the bark wound first You shouldn't need to decorate the layer bundle with lights, unless your really feeling festive.

" Or does this need to somehow make it through a winter and part of another growing season to have a legitimate chance at making it?"

some species are slow to root, I would imagine you could protect the layer throughout winter with some fiberglass insulation wrapped around it then maybe some foil to keep something from picking it apart or making a nest out of it

I wouldn't go near it with a shovel, its difficult to dig a tree that size by hand I think you'd have better luck trying a layer, but consider first; Are there any smaller diameter branches in the canopy that would make good bonsai that could be layered? You could work your way down and have lots of potential trees and get a chance to practice layering smaller branches before trying to layer the girth of the main trunk.
-Jay


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Re: Airlayering Size Limit? (Japanese Maple)

Post  Jesse on Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:21 pm

Thank you Jay for the thorough point by point response.

drgonzo wrote:...Are there any smaller diameter branches in the canopy that would make good bonsai that could be layered? You could work your way down and have lots of potential trees and get a chance to practice layering smaller branches before trying to layer the girth of the main trunk...

A very good suggestion.

Thanks, Jesse

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Re: Airlayering Size Limit? (Japanese Maple)

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