Rescue Maple Air Layer

After spending the last few years getting this maple back to health, it was time to make a decision about the rotting wood at the base and slight inverse taper. The tree has obviously had a hard life and large areas of the trunk have died back. After consideration I am opting to try an air layer.

I marked out the best spot for stripping the bark. Not easy as the deadwood always breaks the circumference of the trunk at some point.

Sharp tools at the ready and some Sphagnum Moss at hand.

Strip removed and a clean upper edge created. Lots of evidence of a hard life in the heartwood of this tree.

Instead of doing the usual air layer with cling film I opted to use a flower pot as it can sit at the base of the tree. Pot sliced and a portion removed to allow the trunk to fit through the bottom.

Taped up and ready for the moss.

Filled with moss and cling filmed over the top to help retain moisture.

Here we go. Update in the Autumn.



10 comments on “Rescue Maple Air Layer

  1. Ian, let me suggest that you use your favorite mix in the pot instead of sphagnum. That is, a layer of sphagnum on the bottom of the pot to act as screen to keep the mix from falling out through the drain holes, fill with mix, top with another layer of sphagnum. I’ve never bothered to wrap it all up in plastic – I just water the layering pot just like I do the whole tree.

    This use of bonsai soil instead of sphagnum will save you a season of root development. At the end of this season, when you harvest the layer, you will have new roots that are strong enough to support potting the tree whereas with sphagum you will have fragile fleshy ones that cannot mechanically support the tree.

    Personally, I would do all air-layers this way, but I haven’t figured out a way to manage mix-in-a-pot when layering horizontal branches.

    BTW, my mother was Irish.


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