How to Aerial Layer or Marcot Pt 2

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How to Aerial Layer or Marcot Pt 2

Postby taffyman » Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:36 pm

There are a few other ways of Aerial Layering, so a bit of an explanation of some of them might be useful.
In the first part, a vertical layer was explained. Another way is to do the layer horizontal – as on a horizontal branch. The procedure of removing the bark below a node and applying rooting hormone gel or powder is exactly the same (photo 1). The only difference is in wrapping the Sphagnum Moss and plastic sheet round the branch. In the vertical, a cup is formed with the plastic and filled with the moss. With a horizontal branch, the plastic is laid out flat on the bench, the damp moss is spread out reasonably thick, but leaving the two ends clear (photo 2). Cut a piece of whatever tape you use (duct, gaffer etc) and put it somewhere very handy. I stick mine to my bottom lip! This bit of tape is only used to initially hold the plastic sheet together. Lift the sheet up under the branch and wrap it round the branch, overlapping the ends. Hold it together with one hand and stick the folded over join together with the bit of tape (photo 3). Make sure there is roughly an equal amount of moss all round the branch. If there isn’t, use a chop-stick or similar to poke some more in where it’s needed. Finally, seal the ends as in the vertical layer (photos 4 - 5). That’s it – job done. I usually use this method if I’m doing a demonstration because I think it’s a bit easier than doing it vertically.
Another way on a vertical branch or trunk, is to use a plastic pot cut in half top to bottom and semi circles near enough the size of the branch/trunk you are layering cut out of the bottom (photos 6 - 7). In cool climates like Japan, a black plastic pot is suitable because there isn’t too much evaporation, but in our climates we need a pot with no drain holes in it to retain more moisture. The bark is removed in the usual way, and your favourite rooting hormone applied. The two halves of the pot are then put round the layer site and secured together with some wire (photo 8). The pot is then filled with very course sand and watered in well (photo 9). If you have plenty of time on your hands, that’s all you have to do - except it will need watering two or three times a day to keep it moist. If you don’t have a lot of time – or if you’re lazy like me, then you could cover the whole thing with clear plastic and seal as in a vertical Aerial Layer. This method will (most likely) still need the sand moistened fairly frequently though because it will dry out far quicker than the Sphagnum Moss method. Some Sphagnum Moss can also be mixed with the sand for more water retention. Sphagnum Moss could also be used in the ‘split pot’ method, but if you intend covering and sealing with clear plastic then it is a lot more work than just filling the plastic sheet with the moss - so to me, is a waste of time and energy.
The following method isn’t air layering as such – it’s actually Ground Layering, but does the same job – producing roots on a branch. It happens naturally in the wild with a lot of trees and shrubs. A low growing branch that touches the ground will frequently send out roots at the point where it is in contact with the ground. To do it artificially – and to speed up the process, select a suitable branch growing close to the ground and bend it down till it touches. Mark the point of contact on the branch then lift it up and with a sharp knife, cut through the layers of bark - at the point you marked - on an angle towards the end of the branch. Don’t ‘ring bark’ the branch, just cut as if you are going to do a graft and insert a small pebble or stone into this cut, then coat with Rooting hormone gel/powder (photo 10). Scoop out a narrow trench, push the branch down into it and cover with soil. Place a brick or heavy stone on top and wait for the roots to develop (photo 11).
One thing to keep in mind when you cut through the bark on all forms of layering is to make sure you go right through all the outer layers down to the heartwood otherwise your layer could fail by the tree bridging the gap and growing all new bark. Trust me – I’ve had it myself. I did a fig about six months ago. The trunk was about 3 centimetres in diameter and the ring bark was about 3 centimetres long. After about three months I still couldn’t see any roots developing, so I took all the plastic and moss off. There wasn’t one bare piece of trunk to be seen. The tree had bridged the gap and the bark had totally re-grown all the way round.
After reading the first ‘How to’ and this one, I’m sure some of you will think of other ways Aerial Layers could be applied - so if you do, have a go and see if they work. One of our forum members posted some links to vid clips showing a toilet roll insert filled with sand being used. This would work with quick rooting trees like figs, but I think the cardboard would rot away far too quickly for something like a pine – and it is only suitable for very thin trees. At least it is thinking outside the square though, so put your thinking caps on and see if you can ‘invent’ another method – then post it here on GE.

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Re: How to Aerial Layer or Marcot Pt 2

Postby lmrk » Mon Jan 07, 2008 5:00 pm

Thanks Taffy. That's excellent information, and again, your instructions are very easy to understand! (Y)

The old couple down the road air layer their frangipani with the pot cut in half method - I used to think the pots were there to keep the birds away :shock: :wink:

I tried air layering a branch on my parent's Manchurian Pear - did it about 2 months ago, but I've had a look under the black plastic and other than the biggest ear wigs you've ever seen, there's not a hint of root to be seen. I suspect that I didn't cut deep enough into the wood as the branch is a horizontal one at the bottom of the tree and it was hard to get too. Also, don't think I used enough sphagnum moss - my "layering parcel" is really skinny compared to the plump parcels in the pics you've put up. Should I take it all off & have a look or do you think that 2 months is not enough time for root development to have occurred?

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Re: How to Aerial Layer or Marcot Pt 2

Postby Pam » Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:53 am

The rooter pots that GE carries! I'm not sure how to link to an individual item, but will find out. I haven't gotten around to trying mine yet, but Abwal (I think) was using his.
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Re: How to Aerial Layer or Marcot Pt 2

Postby taffyman » Tue Jan 08, 2008 9:00 pm

Thanks for that Pam. I've just checked it out and yes, it's very similar to what I described above. The only other ones I've seen are made from Terracotto in two halves, just like the pot I showed above cut in half. This one on GE appears to have a lid on it as well as storing water in the lower half, so it looks like it could be useful - Might even try one myself to see what they're like.
No idea how to link to it, but if you type Code:ROOPT in the search box then click on where it says Rooter Pot Code: ROOTP, it will take you straight to it.
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Re: How to Aerial Layer or Marcot Pt 2

Postby Pam » Tue Jan 08, 2008 9:23 pm

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Re: How to Aerial Layer or Marcot Pt 2

Postby lmrk » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:08 am

Thanks Pam - gotta get one of those stem peelers!!!!!! Woo hooo :D
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Re: How to Aerial Layer or Marcot Pt 2

Postby Pam » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:25 am

I've been eyeing those off too Leah. Has anyone actually tried them?
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Re: How to Aerial Layer or Marcot Pt 2

Postby veg gardener » Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:56 am

Thank you Taffy, I just read both of them like you suggest for me to read :) i may have a go at Aeroal Layer or Marcot and also progation the normal way eg cuttings :)
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