Brazilian Raintree airlayer Revisit

Remember this tree?

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I put the airlayers on this Brazilian Raintree at the beginning of June. It is July 26th now. Wooooeeeee! Success!

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It’s actually growing pretty well

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This branch is new

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About 2 feet long ( I know, I’m bragging)

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And those thorns! At least 2 inches long (that’s actually about the size of it)
In order to not disturb those beautiful roots, I cut off each airlayered branch well below the aluminum foil.


On this one tree I got five airlayers. As long as you don’t try to airlayer two in a line on one branch this is possible. Obviously. Duh!

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Here is the first subject. Notice the two most important tools I use to do bonsai here in Orlando. Water and Deep Woods Off!

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Carefully remove the aluminum foil (a note on the pronunciation of this word, aluminum. In the U. K. They say ahl-you-min-ee-um. Here in the U. S. we say al-oo-min-um. Both of us listen to the other and wonder why the other is so daft as to misread the word. The spelling is clear. The truth, in fact, is that we just spell the word differently. In the U. K. it’s aluminium. In the U. S. it’s aluminum. Just like colour and color. I don’t know why. We still use chromium or titanium. Somewhere we just started spelling it differently. That’s it, really. See, I’ve just diffused the war that was brewing between our two nations. I’m awesome, ain’t I?)
Ok, sorry,where was I?

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I know it’s tempting to try to comb out those roots and try to remove the sphagnum but, resist it. The only thing I am doing is cutting the stalk just above where the branch was scraped for the airlayer.


I’m putting them in one gallon containers purely for depth. I will actually bury them deeper than one would expect. What is needed is stability so those roots have a chance to grow.

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This is my nursery ( not bonsai) soil. I mix it myself and it’s a blend of a pine bark based commercial potting soil, ( I don’t like peat moss for various reasons which I won’t go into here. In the much promised soil post. Promise) calcined clay, and perlite. It is coarse enough to facilitate growth but it still has enough “fines” in it to hold moisture in the intense Florida sun.

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I tied a wire around the trunk and fertilized (as normal) and put my pre-emergent (I use oh2 but Preen is adequate). You can see hiding behind the pot another useful (some would say essential) tool I use at my nursery.

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It’s these characteristics that airlayering is used to capture. This branch has a nice bend.

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Here’s another nice root ball. Sue wheat!

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The host tree; ready for carving and styling.

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Nice trunk.

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I made sure to cut back the newly separated airlayers to encourage new top and bottom growth and to decrease the leaf surface area. Which will decrease the water needs until the roots can catch up. Up till now the water had been supplied by the host tree ( see the June 5th post).

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A last shot of my success. I’m such a proud nurseryman! Booyaa!

About adamaskwhy

Visual artist specializing in bonsai, mostly.
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