Air layering is a method of cloning a plant without damaging the original tree. The process involves a series of cuts to create a new branch that has the same roots as the parent plant. It is important to choose a healthy stem and a suitable time to perform the operation. In some cases, the procedure takes months, while other methods can be performed in a single season.
Air layering trees is relatively easy. To begin, you will need to cut off a small ring of bark from the trunk of a healthy tree. You will then need to encircle the wound with a plastic wrap to keep it dry and secure. Next, you need to make a slit in the bark so that you can remove a thick layer of cells called cambium. By removing this layer, you can expose the green tissue underneath.
Depending on the type of tree you are cloning, the process may take weeks or even months. Air layering can be used on both woody and fruit trees. A common example is the air layering of maple trees.
Before you begin, it is essential to wear thin surgical gloves. You can buy them in your local hardware store or at a big box retailer.
Air layering a woody plant involves making two parallel cuts that are about one and a half to two times the diameter of the branch. You should also remove all of the bark between the two cuts. Once you have the bark removed, you will need to apply a clear plastic piece to the wound so that it seals it over time.
Air layering a fruit tree is a great way to clone a new tree without damaging the parent. The process works best when done in the early spring, although it can be completed in the late summer or early fall as well. For best results, you should only use young stems, as the older the stem, the less likely it is to produce buds.
Air layering fruit trees is a fast and simple procedure. If you don’t have the patience to wait for the root system to grow, you can always lop off a section of the stem and prune it to form a new plant. However, some fruit trees are difficult to root from severed cuttings.
Generally, the most productive fruit trees are grafted on more vigorous stock. You can also use the air layering method for tropical fruit trees such as mamey sapote and apricot. Other species that are well suited to this technique include flowering quince and gardenia.
As with any procedure, there are pros and cons to air layering. The main pro is that it is a relatively cheap and quick way to clone a new plant. But, the cons include the fact that the process can take several months or even a year to complete.
While you can use the air layering method to clone most plants, it is not the only method. Another method is to cut a small slit in the bark of a tree and insert a thin slice of aluminum foil. Alternatively, you can use a toothpick to create a tiny hole in the bark.