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Air Layering

Layering is basically the propagating of plants by creating new rootings from desired plants.  The Chinese have been practicing layering for over 4000 years so it is a time honored practice.  There are various types of layering which can be used for different reasons.   One form of layering that many people practice is thought of as a 'gardening trick' and not really a propagation method: we know it as placing a brick on a limb at ground level, generally done with a plant such as a hydrangea.  There are also plants, some of which are considered as invasive, which practice propagating by self rooting – English Ivy is a great example.

Simple Layering is a process where you wound a branch, remove the leaves at the node, bend the branch down to the ground where you can then stake it to get it upright and make a prettier presentation.  Generally, to get a good rooting, you would leave the plant attached to the main plant until 3 to 12 months have passed.   Again, a good plant for this type of propagation is a hydrangea. Serpentine Layering, useful for vines, calls for leaving the leaf node up and mounding around the staked vine.  You may have seen this occurring naturally in your garden when ants may have taken up residency in one of your potted vines.

Air Layering allows you to have a larger plant at the end of the process.  By using this method, until you actually have removed the rooted branch from the host plant, you have not changed the host plant.  In fact, if your attempt to root a branch is not successful on the plant, the host plant does not suffer or lose anything as the branch can remain attached, even though you may have failed.  It is known as 'air layering' as you are doing it in the air since you can't bend the limb to the ground in order to root it.  In order to successfully air layer, you need to open up a selected branch - look for a branch that has a good form for a new plant, also try for a lightly wooded branch rather than one that is fully barked.

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