heso
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Selecting a branch for air layering

I'm brand new to bonsai, and I'm quickly falling deep down the rabbit hole.

While I wait for my Japanese Maple seeds to germinate (I'm in for the decades long haul with these, I know) I want to get something that I can start playing with, learning the techniques, etc.

When I first started reading about air layering I didn't realize how small of a section of tree most people were looking at. Once I read some one point out that their main focus of the branch was only the first 6 inches, it really changed my perspective on what to look for in a branch (soon to be trunk).

All of that to say that I just bought a house with a nice choke cherry (I think, it just blossomed a couple weeks ago) tree in the yard.

Image

I'd like some feedback regarding how you go about selecting a section for air layering. There is a section of the tree that is starting to encroach on the house so I thought it would be a good opportunity to get my feet wet with air layering and not have to worry about what happens to the branch.

Here is the section that I am looking at taking from:

Image

What branches stick out as interesting to you? If this was your tree, how would you approach taking a section of material?

Additionally, once the section has been removed, is it typically put into the ground for a period of time to encourage root production and branch growth, or into a pot?

heso
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Re: Selecting a branch for air layering

These are some sections that caught my eye after a few minutes of looking at the tree.

Image

Can you see any immediate pros/cons of those sections?

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Gnome
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Re: Selecting a branch for air layering

heso,

It's really hard to tell anything without being there. Look for a section that is unique, if it's not something with an interesting shape it's not worth the effort, except for practice.

I always plant my layers in pots. The roots will need time to become established and at least partially refined before I would set them out.

heso
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Re: Selecting a branch for air layering

So after you take your layer, do you chop it way down right away, or do you let the tree work on the roots before you cut it back?

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Gnome
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Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Re: Selecting a branch for air layering

heso,

After separation I would not be too anxious to do heavy work, allow a year or more to allow time for the new roots to become established. Ideally you would choose a branch that already has good characteristics and does not need major reduction.

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