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Re: Air Layering

I've done some air layering, Jesse, but not a lot. It is the way most litchis, macadamia nuts, and rubber plants [Ficus elastica], and, I'm sure, many other plants are usually propagated. The Royal Horticulture Society's propagation book [AHS published it as "Plant Propagation"] has very good instructions in how to air layer stuff.

The one disadvantage to air layering [verses propagation by seed or by grafting scion wood onto a seedling] is that the air layered clones will not produce tap roots. Most of the commercial litchi orchards in south Florida were simply blown away by hurricane Andrew because the trees had no tap roots.

I think the general rule is that any plant that can be propagated by cuttings, can also be air layered, but there are other plants--the afore-mentioned macadamias and rubber plants--that do not [or only rarely] respond as cuttings. Cuttings have the same no-tap-root problem that air layers have but generally they are easier to propagate and require a whole lot less time to do so. I usually try cuttings first; then air layering; then seedling and grafting [provided, of course, I have seedlings and access to scion wood].

Sometimes I do just seedlings. "Just seedlings" is always a crap shoot, but sometimes it's fun to see what sexual reproduction has cooked up for you. I mean, hey, that's how most of us got here!

On Monday, June 21, 2004, at 11:47 AM, Jesse Bell wrote:

Has anybody on this list ever done "air-layering" on trees and shrubs?
My brother has a nursery in Honolulu and he was here this weekend. He
was showing me how to propagate trees and evergreens using this method.
So I tried it. Should know something in about 5-6 weeks. Kind of cool. I
feel so smart now.

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Island Jim
Southwest Florida
Zone 10
27.0 N, 82.4 W

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