Monday, March 24, 2008

Today I decided to try my luck at the propagation technique known as air layering. I have an old Tangerine tree that I have made my test subject. I will walk you through the process that I used along with show you what I have done through pictures. First off what you will need to have handy are the following: clear plastic bag, black plastic bag, thin wire or tape or rubber bands, sphagnum moss, water, and a sharp knife. The first picture is of the branch that I have selected. This branch is about 3/4 to 1 inch thick, which is pretty much the ideal circumference when using the air layering technique. This branch is also at the top of the tangerine tree where it receives all of the light it possibly can, which is what you are looking for so it will produce rapid growth.

The second picture is of the injury. You must injure the tree to promote growth. With this in mind what I have done is cut all of the bark off the tree in a 3 inch area. I cut just deep enough into the tree to remove all of the green that backs the bark. If you leave this green part it will trigger the tree to reproduce more bark to heal itself, which is not what we want so remove all the green part to promote the production of roots.

The third picture is of the first wrapping, the clear bag. I placed a clear bag around the wound on the tangerine tree and secured tightly in place with a thin wire like a big garbage bag tie. Then I stuffed the clear bag full of moist sphagnum moss and sealed up the top the same way. Be sure to wring out the moss until there are no drips of water.

The forth picture is of the sealed up clear bag full of moist sphagnum moss.

The fifth picture is of the completed project. After I sealed up the the clear bag I wrapped it again with a black plastic bag. The reason for this is the black bag will block the sunlight to recreate natural light for roots which is darkness. I have used the clear and black bags so that I can remove the black bag now and again to see thru the clear bag to see results. If everything goes good in a couple of months I should see a root ball in the clear bag. Then I will cut the branch off the tree and plant it in a pot giving me a mature tangerine tree a whole lot quicker than growing one from seed!


Di said...

I've never tried this and wish you luck.

Frances, said...

This is great info, well presented. a question, when is the best time to do this, now, in spring? Do temperatures matter, like above freezing, or below a too hot temp? I want to try this, will any type of tree work? Thanks for any help.
Frances at Faire Garden