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Air-Layering with Air-Pots

I’ve seen the posts on various air-layering methods (and I am currently using most of them). I have been using the Air-Pots to air-layer the thicker branches on my trees. Air-Pots have the advantage that they come flat and the two sides are pinned together. So they are easy to get around a limb and don’t need to get taped as one might do to a conventional container. Also, like the Rooter Pots mentioned, they are easy to use and re-usable. Also the top and bottom are secure so that the container doesn’t move around and break the newly formed roots. However, unlike the Rooter Pots, I am not limited to a 1″ limb. Here are some of the limbs I am currently air-layering in this manner:

two 3/4inch branches in 4d X 6h container

a 1 3/4+ inch limb in a 8d X 6h container

I have more pics in the slide shown linked below.

I provide the container stability by creating both a bottom and a top which surrounds the limb:

The top has larger holes cut out to allow for ease of watering. I don’t wrap these in plastic. The bottom has a series of smaller drain holes:

I try to find a node on the limb close to where I want the bottom of the container to be and cut a hole to fit the limb just above it. This way, the plastic base will sit on the node and support the container. Also, if there are other limbs growing close to the layer, they can be used to for support as well.

I have tried filling these with Perlite, but it dries too quickly. Currently I am using my regular potting mix.

As I mentioned, the skies the limit as far as size goes (providing one has enough time and an Air-Pot large enough to support the tree). I will be doing another one of these on my cousin’s tree which has RKN. The trunk is 3+ inches in diameter. I will use an 11inch diameter container. Given the design of the Air-Pots, I can lift the base off the ground without needing to put anything underneath the container.

Since I tend to mess up my tools when I take them into the garden, I bought a cheap hole set for the drill and a digital caliper (3 bucks and 6 bucks respectively) at Harbor Freight Tools. Each container takes about 10 minutes to make and 2-3 minutes to install. I use old plastic five gallon buckets to cut out the top and bottom disks (the disks provided with the Air-Pots are not suitable for this use).

Once you get the hang of it, it is duck soup or easy as pie or easy as duck soup pie.

Here is a link that might be useful: Slide Show

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Comments (13)

hlyell

Very cool James. To clarify: The white discs you are making yourself? From pots?

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bjs496

I have a bunch of 2, 4, and 5 gallon buckets that I used to grow trees in. I use a hole cutter on the end of the drill to punch out discs from the old buckets. A 4″ hole saw produces discs just about the right size for a 0.3 gallon Air-Pot. For the larger ones. the bottom of the 2 gallon buckets is about eight inches. Two of the 0.3 gallon Air-Pots fit nicely around those. The bottom of the 5 gallon buckets is about 11 inches. This will fit in the 3.4 gallon Air-Pot. I use a jigsaw with a fine tooth blade to cut those out. On the larger ones, I like to use the bottom of the bucket. The plastic is thicker and more rigid (gives more support). The sides of the bucket are a bit more flimsy but are sufficient to support the 0.3 gallon Air-Pots. You can use anything you have around. I would recommend plastic since it is easy to work with and is not damaged by water.

One more thing to note. I do not (except for two as a test) scrape off the outer layer of the limb before air-layering. I have broken branches in the past doing this and I’m not convinced it is necessary. On the last picture posted above, you will see some bumps on the bark at the bottom of the picture to the left. I think those are the predecessors to limbs/roots (depending on the condition). I didn’t map the bumps before I etioliated some limbs to see if these bumps were where the roots originated. I know the effect of the girdling process is to block the flow of photosyntate out of limb, but given that I had root formation without scraping the bark, I chose not to. If you are so inclined to produce a girdle. I find using a vegetable peeler is easier than the more traditional way described. Make a single girdle at the bottom of the cut with a knife so the bark falls away without risk of tearing, and peel to that line.

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Hi All, I've seen the posts on various air-layering methods (and I am currently using most of them). I have been using the Air-Pots to air-layer the thicker branches on my trees. Air-Pots have the advantage that they come flat and the two sides are pinned together. So they are easy to get around a l…

The Rooter Pot

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After the roots have developed, cut the branch under the pot to remove from the mother plant.

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New plant produced using a rooter pot.

New plant produced using a rooter pot.

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