Air Layer in a bottle

crezDecember 5, 2009

If you get in early before the leaves get too large, you can place a cut-off plastic bottle over the girdled branch as the tree begins to leaf. Fill it with potting mix and cover the sides and top with foil to keep the hot sun out and water every second week. The one in the picture was cut from the tree after 10 weeks and used a 1.5 litre (2 pint) soda water bottle. This provides a more physically stabe setup than a plastic bag but still has good visibility to check for root growth.

Here is a link that might be useful:

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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

This is really a nice way to air layer figs, you get to see the roots before you cut it. I air layer usually by wrapping with sphagnum moss and wrapping it with aluminum foil, it works well for me as well.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 6:41AM
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I prefer the plastic bag for reasons pertaining to higher incidence of root damage with the bottle when rooted branch is taken out to be potted.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 11:56AM
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I have about 35 air layers going, the first 6 were the bottle type but then the leaves grew too large to slip thru the neck of the bottle. The remaining ones are in plastic covered with foil.
paully22: I imagine if I tried too slide the roots out of the bottle there would be damage, but I had virtually none by cutting the bottle away with scissors.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 4:25PM
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I used the same process with many bottles of different sizes. I always split the bottle up one side so it slips around a branch easily, then tape it closed. Removal without damage is easy.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 7:19PM
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It is rather inspired! I don't have to much trouble rooting figs. I've used everything from air rooting with plastic to water to plastic bags with wet paper towels.

Timing is perfect for this tip as we just had a freeze and leaves have fallen. There are a couple of figs I have that need to be changed from bushes to tree form and this looks like it could become my preferred method for this time of year.

I think I will try this technique on a notoriously tough to root plant like an avacado.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 5:59AM
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Rick, You would be just entering winter over there. I am not sure if there is any advantage in getting in this early. I may be wrong but I wouldn't expect roots to grow much without leaves above them to provide energy. However, some recent pictures of rooted cuttings on this forum would suggest I am wrong. I started the one in the picture just after the first leaves opened in the spring. I'm not sure how avocados behave, but I started a layer on a magnolia at the same time as the figs and last time I looked there was no root activity. I think figs are about the easiest.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 5:09AM
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Try wounding a node or two on the branch before you slip the bottle over that section. Use a knife or sandpaper to cut or scratch the skin......that wound will help stimulate root formation on that node. For harder to root plants use a rooting hormone....I like to use CLONEX RED GEL as it has a higher concentration of Butyric acid. The use of rooting hormone on a live branch will NOT cause rot.

A River Cajun

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 6:40AM
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.............also, I like to use those wide-mouth plastic bottles. The wide mouth allows the leaves to slip through as the bottle is positioned over the nodes. Small wide-mouth juice bottles work great.

Red beans and ricely yours.....

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 6:54AM
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I have some IBA I ordered from RPI Scientific so I am good to go. I have enough figs/avacados to run controls, just not enough to do a Students T-test.

I can start it now to see if David is right about it being a spring only technique.

Avacados don't go dormant but the refs IIRC say it can take up to a year in a greenhouse with misting. It would be nice to find something that works better or faster.

I will just do:
1) Neet
2) +IBA
3) Wound
4) Wound +IBA

I have some IAA too but I worry its stability problems would yield junk results outside of a green house. Just to big of temperature changes, UV, and rain in the real world.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 6:25PM
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Experimenting is lots of fun. I love to experiment and develop newer propagation methods. You will not need any statistics to tell you when your experiments are successful. Probably the best way to layer an Avocado would be to create a callous in late summer using the TOOTHPICK TECHNIQUE. It works well for those hard to root species. You do this by cutting vertically completely thru a small branch.....just below a node....using an exacto knife. Place a piece of wood behind the branch so you don't cut your finger. Then put a toothpick in the cut that you made so that the wound cannot completely close. Let it sit about about a month or two (depends on the plant species) until you find that the plant has produced a nice callous around that cut you made just below that node. Roots will form rather easily around that node/callous area. When ready to layer remove the toothpick. Then scratch the node/callous surface with a knife or sandpaper and put some rooting gel on that cut. Fill the bottle with potting soil, keep it moist, and completely covered with aluminum foil.

If your avocados are still green ( still flowing) I would give them a try now layering over winter and then again later in the spring. Lots of variables here to experiment with.

Please report your results in this thread if you try this method.

From my C.A.R.I.C.A. research files...........

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 7:24PM
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xgrndpounder(Z 8 E. Tx.)

I heard Dan is the sitting president of the C.A.R.I.C.A

Down South Cecil

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 8:19PM
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Dan, I admire your points that you make and we appreciate and read all your posts here in South Jersey, keep up the good work, Sergio.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 9:37PM
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I have a hazelnut/filbert that produces well. They are known to be difficult to root. I'll try Dan's instructions above on that and see what happens. I expect more patience will be required than with figs.

Rick: I will be interested to see how you go. At least you wont have to water as often during the cooler months.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 6:37AM
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I have had good success with rooting a Myer Lemon by this method. What's good about propagation by layering....... should the new tree get top killed by a freeze whatever re-sprouts from below the ground will have the same fruiting characteristics as a true Myer Lemon and not that of a non-fruiting rootstock onto which it was originally grafted.

Specializing in the LSU bred figs.........

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 11:06AM
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