Air Layering a Mel...

Discussions about propagating from cuttings, seeds, air layers etc. Going on a dig (Yamadori) or thinking of importing? Discuss how, when and where here.

Re: Air Layering a Mel...

Postby Ryceman3 » October 2nd, 2015, 2:52 pm

Another update :
Cut these layers off last weekend as the fence the tree is leaning against was getting pushed a little too far so the branch needed to go. If it were up to me I think I would've left it for longer to get more growth, but it was time!

Potted up all 3 layers, and learned a fair bit in the process, the important stuff is as follows :
1. Extricating the sphagnum moss from the roots is very slow, very precise and requires a fair bit of technique and skill (2 things I lacked with the first 2 layers and may result in them not being terribly successful unfortunately).
2. The roots that are produced are very fragile and require an enormous amount of care when potting to keep them from being broken/damaged. Not sure if this is particularly true of these mels or whether that applies to air layering generally.
3.Layering is addictive - I set about layering an olive just for the fun of it almost immediately after potting these 3 up and I am forever looking at trees/branches and assessing their viability ...

Anyhow, for better or worse they are now recovering and it is way too early to tell what will happen. I hold most hope for the tree in the centre of the pic showing all 3 in their pots. This was the last one I did and I managed to salvage the most roots I think due to the experience I gained from the first two... it's a learning curve! Hopefully it turns out. :fc:

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Re: Air Layering a Mel...

Postby tygcaldwell » October 2nd, 2015, 6:45 pm

I have no advice. Just wanted to say the root growth looks great and that after reading your thread I will have to give this a go.
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Re: Air Layering a Mel...

Postby Ryceman3 » October 2nd, 2015, 9:01 pm

tygcaldwell wrote:I have no advice. Just wanted to say the root growth looks great and that after reading your thread I will have to give this a go.


Cheers! I absolutely encourage you to give it a go on whatever tree you like. Now is generally accepted as a good time for pretty much any species so I'm glad you're keen and I think the timing is good... Give it a go! Good luck. Would be happy to help if you have Q's (assuming I know the answers)! :tu:
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Re: Air Layering a Mel...

Postby shibui » October 2nd, 2015, 9:57 pm

All new roots are really brittle. Doesn't matter what species and this applies to cuttings, layers, etc.

As you have discovered taking the sphagnum off is difficult. It is much easier to leave it all as it is and pot the whole lot into a pot of good mix. This does not seem to cause any problems. Next repotting opportunity in 12 months the roots will be much better attached and you can comb out any remaining sphagnum far easier. Roots will still be flexible enough to spread them out radially as well.
I think the picture shows plenty of roots to start with. I have potted layers with far fewer roots and they survived.
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Re: Air Layering a Mel...

Postby Sno » October 2nd, 2015, 10:51 pm

I put my sphagnum moss through a blender first . It makes it abit easier to remove , you can generally wash it off with a light hose .
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Re: Air Layering a Mel...

Postby addict2bonsai » October 2nd, 2015, 11:45 pm

I also use chopped spaghnum but prefer rehydrated coco peat blocks as that just falls away or can stay on.
I would not bother airlayering an olive as you can do very large cuttings and nibbling around base
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Re: Air Layering a Mel...

Postby Ryceman3 » October 3rd, 2015, 7:21 am

shibui wrote:All new roots are really brittle. Doesn't matter what species and this applies to cuttings, layers, etc.

As you have discovered taking the sphagnum off is difficult. It is much easier to leave it all as it is and pot the whole lot into a pot of good mix. This does not seem to cause any problems. Next repotting opportunity in 12 months the roots will be much better attached and you can comb out any remaining sphagnum far easier. Roots will still be flexible enough to spread them out radially as well.
I think the picture shows plenty of roots to start with. I have potted layers with far fewer roots and they survived.


That's encouraging re: root volume, happy to hear it has a shot. The thought of just leaving the sphagnum did cross my mind but I was worried it would stay too moist when potted and cause rot issues etc. I think the first 2 layers would've preferred that risk to breaking off most of the roots in hindsight however!

Sno wrote:I put my sphagnum moss through a blender first . It makes it abit easier to remove , you can generally wash it off with a light hose .


... a blender ... :lol: awesome!

addict2bonsai wrote:I also use chopped spaghnum but prefer rehydrated coco peat blocks as that just falls away or can stay on.
I would not bother airlayering an olive as you can do very large cuttings and nibbling around base


Thanks guys, I did recall something about this too while I was separating roots and actually was the reason I did a bit of an impromptu layer on the olive. I had chopped up some sphagnum (no blender handy!) and wanted to give it a go ... I realise layering olives is a bit superfluous but it was what I had in front of me, and like I said , layering is addictive!

Thanks all for the comments/advice.
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Re: Air Layering a Mel...

Postby Elmar » October 3rd, 2015, 10:54 am

Good effort Ryce.

Keep it up! As has been discussed in other posts, sometimes you just don't get the same plant from seed and, in my situation, heat is will become the major stumbling block once summer sets in so Cloning (air layering) is a much safer option.

I've started one myself (3 or 4 to go on the same tree) and will try the others options mentioned here (Coco peat, and I have seen basic soil as well as Bonsai soil), just a matter of finding the time ...

Keep going, keep sharing - mistakes are only bad if we don't learn from them! Being a selfish kinda bloke, I'd rather learn from your mistakes than my own :lol:

Have an awesome weekend
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Re: Air Layering a Mel...

Postby Ryceman3 » November 30th, 2015, 2:10 pm

Been about 2 months since I removed these layers so thought I'd put a a few progress pics.

2 out of 3 layers are showing promise with budding and growth accelerating over the last few weeks. The third ... well .... lets just say I'm using it as my barometer tree. It has a couple of tiny, weak buds that I'm sure are just residual energy but I'm treating it the same as the others. If/when it finally carks it (and assuming the others are still powering on) I'll be confident of the success of those layers.... well more confident anyway!

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Re: Air Layering a Mel...

Postby Elmar » November 30th, 2015, 3:05 pm

Well done. Mine seems to have died thru the heat wave we've just had ... :crybye:

Not giving up yet ... Still holding hope that it will pull thru!
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Re: Air Layering a Mel...

Postby Ray M » November 30th, 2015, 6:00 pm

Ryceman3 wrote:Been about 2 months since I removed these layers so thought I'd put a a few progress pics.

2 out of 3 layers are showing promise with budding and growth accelerating over the last few weeks. The third ... well .... lets just say I'm using it as my barometer tree. It has a couple of tiny, weak buds that I'm sure are just residual energy but I'm treating it the same as the others. If/when it finally carks it (and assuming the others are still powering on) I'll be confident of the success of those layers.... well more confident anyway!

:beer:

Hi Ryceman3,
Great to see new foliage appearing, this looks very promising. :clap: :aussie:
Just a reminder to any who try Air Layering. Shibui mentioned above about planting the layers without removing the moss. This is very good information. If the roots seems to be fairly entwined in the moss, just leave it and plant the layer as is. When you repot you will be able to remove the moss over time and the roots will be much more mature.

Regards Ray
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Re: Air Layering a Mel...

Postby Ryceman3 » November 30th, 2015, 6:40 pm

Elmar wrote:Well done. Mine seems to have died thru the heat wave we've just had ... :crybye:

Not giving up yet ... Still holding hope that it will pull thru!



Bugger!! Keep at it, you never know ... figs can be resilient and your persistence might pay off. :fc:

Ray M wrote:Hi Ryceman3,
Great to see new foliage appearing, this looks very promising. :clap: :aussie:
Just a reminder to any who try Air Layering. Shibui mentioned above about planting the layers without removing the moss. This is very good information. If the roots seems to be fairly entwined in the moss, just leave it and plant the layer as is. When you repot you will be able to remove the moss over time and the roots will be much more mature.

Regards Ray


Thanks Ray, think that is probably good advice. I may have got too preoccupied with removing the sphagnum initially at the expense of a few of the roots that got extracted along with it! Hopefully not too much harm done and these guys continue to push new growth. I'm happy with their progress to date. :cool:
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Re: Air Layering a Mel...

Postby Ryceman3 » February 20th, 2018, 12:53 pm

Yeah ... so ... where did those 2 years go?? :lost: Update time.

I only have one of these left from the three layers I started with.

One I gave away to a mate to see what he could make of it, which apparently wasn't much apart from firewood as it ceased living not long after.

Another dried out during a hot spell while I was on holidays (I think last summer) ... I thought it still had a shot when I found it on my return but it had dried out too much and so :crybye: ...
I think this is the thing I have been surprised with most in terms of bonsai and natives. My original logic was natives, given they are used to hot, dry and fairly average soils etc... would not be as susceptible to lack of water and general neglect as exotics, but my experience with them after a few years is the exact opposite. I think they can be more thirsty than a lot of imports and don't cope well if they are overcome with heat/water stress. I suppose that is a fairly general comment and I'm sure there are exceptions ... I'm just saying that is my particular experience with the natives I have.

Which brings me to the last layer still kicking! It too dried out in the incident mentioned above, but not to the same extent. The thicker trunk (on the right) suffered a lot of dieback, and eventually died right back so that there is no foliage coming from that part of the tree anymore. The skinnier left trunk also died back, but then buds began to appear and it is slowly bouncing back. I guess in the future I will cut this back a bit shorter and I am thinking I may somehow use the larger trunk as a deadwood feature, with a bit of carving etc... of course, any ideas others may have - I am all ears.

Anyhow - 2 years on and still going. Hopefully I can start doing some work on it next Spring or so.
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Re: Air Layering a Mel...

Postby Watto » February 21st, 2018, 5:54 am

Good story and good information for all of us.
I agree that natives in general need a lot of water and in my experience suffer from lack of water more than exotics - but it is a general observation and there are exceptions.
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Re: Air Layering a Mel...

Postby Ryceman3 » February 21st, 2018, 11:30 am

Watto wrote:Good story and good information for all of us.
I agree that natives in general need a lot of water and in my experience suffer from lack of water more than exotics - but it is a general observation and there are exceptions.


Cheers Watto...

I might add that I reckon the needs of the natives are related more to the fact they are in pots rather than the species themselves. What I mean is that they seem to be more vulnerable when grown in pots, but may not (probably don't) have the same vulnerabilities when grown in the ground. Once again, this is just my general observation/experience - just thought I'd chuck it out there!
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