This is a partial update on the last air layer post (go here).
Partial because the podocarpus has not pushed roots yet (though it is beginning to callous); the smaller hackberry air layer has roots but the larger does not; and the winged elm has little nubs but not long roots; and the neea doesn’t have anything yet.
I’ll post an update on those (hopefully) soon.
My friend Mike Rogers had an air layer on a bucida spinosa for two years once. As long as the top is still healthy it is fine to keep the layer on.
This post will deal with the Brazilian Raintree and the ficus microcarpa.
Lets begin with the Raintree.
The different color bark is from the tree exfoliating.
It means its growing.
I put three layers on this tree. All three made it
I didn’t have to peel the aluminum foil back at all to check. The roots were all poking out of the bottom.
they were full of them.
The process is simple.
Saw off the layered branch
And put it in a pot (tie it down to reduce movement)
Some people recommend combing out the roots. I don’t. At this stage the roots are like bean sprouts. Thick, juicy, but brittle. You can comb them out next year.
And I do a topiary trim on top just to spur more growth and reduce the foliage surface area, cutting down on the transpiration stress so many leaves may impart on the new plant.
That was the one tree I knew would work easily.
Now the ficus.
If you remember, this was an experiment to compare air layering to just striking a big cutting.
There’s lots of growth on top. That’s a good sign. And a single root snaking out.
Lets look underneath.
Well….I was expecting more roots from a ficus.
Lets dig underneath and look.
No roots on this face. In fact, the tree is healing back over, bridging the cut we made.
Which gives me an idea on how to heal big wounds but it doesn’t help with this air layer.
Walter was right. Air layering a ficus is counterproductive.
There are only roots on these two areas
The top will survive but I’ve wasted two months on this tree now.
If you can recall, in my experiment I took a similar ficus and made a trunk chop and made a cutting of the top.
Here they are today
The roots on this one are already coming out of the drain holes on the bottom of the pot.
It has branches. It’s well on its way to bonsai hood.
The air layered bottom has just one lonely limb
And the air layered top has but those two areas of roots so I tie it in place
A family photo
So what did I learn?
Don’t bother with air layers on ficus.
Brazilian rain trees like making roots.
And don’t believe Dave when he says he removed all the thorns on those same Brazilian Raintree
Well, iron is good for plants I guess.