The air layering is a process simple and cheap to get new plants for your garden. With a little practice and a lot of patience, you can give your favorite plants a new lease of life.
- Necessary material
- Achievement period
- The 5 steps to follow
What is air layering?
The air layering is a technique of plant propagation practiced Aboveground. It is performed directly on a lignified (wood-like) stalk.
His benefits are many :
- Multiply plants more fast than sowing or cutting. To be precise, the implementation is longer than for these other two techniques. However, once the roots are created, you will get an "adult" subject much faster.
- Reproduce recalcitrant plants other propagation processes (maple, wisteria, hibiscus, etc.).
- Allow a other solution “classic” layering when the branches cannot be tilted towards the ground.
What do i need for air layering?
Here is the list of necessary equipment:
- Grafting (small knife dedicated to horticultural work)
- Small brush
- Rooting hormone powder (or cuttings hormones)
- Moss (sphagnum) or, failing that, peat or seedling compost. However, sphagnum moss works best for its ability to retain moisture.
- Transparent plastic (freezer bag for example)
- Adhesive (or rope)
- Aluminum foil
When to perform air layering?
This type of layering is generally practiced spring (May-June), when sap production is most active. If the subject is layered too late, it will not have time to create enough roots before winter. The risks of failure are then greater.
Air layering in 5 steps
Step 1: Choice of branch
To ensure the success of the layering, select a branch of a good length and the thickness of which must beat least 1 cm. However, avoid excessively large diameters. Remember that the foam ball should be proportional to the size of the stem.
Step 2: Preparing the branch
To allow you good freedom of movement, you should remove the leaves from the branch 10 to 15 cm long.
When the leaf stripping is carried out:
- Take your disinfected graft and practice a first incision in the center of the stripped area.
- Make a second incision at a distance equal to 1.5 times the thickness of the rod. For example, for a branch 2 cm thick, the notches will be separated by 3 cm.
- Make an incision connecting the first two and remove the bark. Following this operation, you should see the wood of the rod. If there is a thin green film (called cambium), scrape it gently.
- To facilitate the creation of new roots, brush the space stripped bare with rooting hormone powder (or cutting hormone) using a brush.
Step 3: Create the sleeve
This step is important and will determine the success or failure of your air layering.
- If you have any, put the sphagnum to soak.
- Have the plastic and wrap it around the branch.
- Tape the base of the sleeve about 3 cm below the bare area.
- Collect the foam and wring it out gently. Then insert it into the muff and make a ball the size of a tennis ball. In the upper part of the sleeve, the sphagnum moss must protrude at least 3 cm from the barked part.
- Close the sleeve by taping the upper part of the plastic.
- Place a sheet aluminum around the sleeve.
Note : If you cannot get sphagnum moss, replace it with peat or potting soil. The most important thing is that the substrate is wet when filling the sleeve.
Smart tip : once made, the layering represents a certain weight for the stem. If the latter seems too weak to you, do not hesitate to relieve it with a support.
Step 4: Monitoring and weaning the layer
When the sleeve is in place, monitor the level every 15 days. humidity of the substrate. In principle, no adjustment is to be expected. If the layer sets, the plant itself will provide the necessary water. However, if you should run out of it, do not hesitate to add a small amount using a syringe and needle.
At the end of some months, you should see root tips appear white or red depending on the plant. However, you must be patient and wait until they turn brown before proceeding with the weaning of the layering. To do this :
- Remove the aluminum foil.
- Using a sharp pruner and disinfected, cut the layers just below the foam.
- Remove the sleeve, taking care not to damage the moss ball and the roots. If you proceeded with another substrate, it may tend to fall apart and take new roots with it. We must therefore be vigilant.
Note : depending on the species to be layered, root development can take only a few months (elm or maple, for example) to a few years (azalea).
Step 5: Planting
For this step, you must choose a bulky jar and deep and fill it with a mixture of potting soil and sand. Then, plant the layer, taking care of the roots and covering the moss well. Depending on the region where you reside, you will need to place your new subject:
- under a shaded greenhouse in cold climate;
- sheltered from the sun under a warm climate. It will also need to be misted regularly.
The following year, when the signs of recovery are there and if you wish, you can replant your plant in full ground having previously removed the moss from the roots.
It may interest you :
- All about cuttings
- Learn grafting