Instructables

Propagation of Fruit Bearing Trees by Air-Layering

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Picture of Propagation of Fruit Bearing Trees by Air-Layering
Most of us want to plant and grow fruit trees at our home garden or in an orchard for their tasty fruits. There are many ways a fruit tree can be propagated - from seeds, from a nursery-bought seedling or by means of Air-layering.

The problem with growing fruit trees from seeds is that it may take very long to bear fruits - some times more than ten years - and there is no guarantee that the fruits will taste same as the one from which you got the seeds.

Air-layering is one method of propagating a fruit tree from an existing one, which will bear fruits sooner, and the fruits will taste same as the mother-plant.

Most of the Citrus trees can be propagated by air-layering. I have successfully air-layered the sweet lemon tree at our home garden and here are the step-by-step instructions on how to do air-layering.
 
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Step 1: Tools and material required

Picture of Tools and material required
The following tools and materials are required to do air-layering

1. A sharp knife
2. Thick cotton thread
3. Clean plastic sheet
4. Hack saw blade (or) a Pruning shears

Step 2: Selecting the right branch

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Select a branch of about one year old and half an inch thick. The branch should be healthy and free from any pest attacks. The best time to do air-layering is when the plant starts growing new leaves

Step 3: Make deep cuts

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Make two clean cuts around the branch about one inch apart with a sharp knife.

Step 4: Peel off the bark

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Peel off the bark between those two cuts

Step 5: Wrap with ball of soil

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Make a ball of soil mixed with tree moss or soil mixed with sand and wood ash around the area where the bark has been peeled off. Here I have used soil mixed with sand and wood ash.

Step 6: Wrap with plastic sheet

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Wrap the soil using a plastic sheet of right size.

Step 7: Tie the ends

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Tie the ends tightly with cotton thread, so that no water or air can enter.

Now you have to wait for about eight to ten weeks, some times more, before rooting takes place.

Step 8: See the roots through the plastic sheet

Picture of See the roots through the plastic sheet
After about ten weeks time, my air-layered sweet lemon tree branch has grown roots. You can see the white roots through the plastic sheet.
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I understand orange trees have to be propagated using lemons as root stocks to minimize diseases and pests. How strong and resistant would be an air layered orange tree?

antoniraj (author)  kgosi.ntshole5 days ago
it is as good as the mother plant, strong and resistant to pest attacks. It also depends on your care after transplant

Thanks Antoniraj. I will definitely try it on my sweet naval tree.

vkumar8019 days ago

Yes.. this one is very successful in most of the plants... every year during Monsoon i prepare few Crotons, Bougainvillea, Guava, Lemon and a few Interior plants using this method but a bit different. I leave the upper side open and used to sow one or two grass over it... my method depends on moisturising the stem on daily basis. The result is 100% every time by 6-8 weeks time.

Hi.... I hope you are still reviewing replies. THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH for this post. I want to air layer an aspen that is growing in about 2 inches between my deck and a fence. But it's September now. Can I still air layer? you mentioned that it takes 6-8 weeks to root.... I think that's doable. I live in Wyoming. thanks for your response in advance

antoniraj (author)  linda.hartman.39502 months ago
I think winter starts in your place in November. If you do air-layering now, you do not have much time to transplant. It is better to wait for a few more months
SHEEFLY1 year ago
What kind of wood ash should I use ? do you think it would work for cherry seeds ?thank you :)
antoniraj (author)  SHEEFLY1 year ago
you can use any kind of wood ash. If you mean cherry tree, I think this will work
SHEEFLY1 year ago
Thank You For sharing :)
I will definitely try it !! do you think it would work with only seeds ?
is it matter whit kind of wood ash ?
Thank you :)
antoniraj (author)  SHEEFLY1 year ago
hi, any kind of wood ash will do... I do not get your point regarding seeds. This is a way of propagating a new tree from an existing fruiting tree. This will take only two to three years for the tree to start fruiting where as from seeds it may take more than seven / eight years
RoBear6131 year ago
"Im going to try this with one of my favorite apple trees! "

Most fruit trees (especially apples) are actually propagated by grafting, not layering (air or ground). The cutting is grafted onto a hardy root stock. Many "bred" varieties are susceptible to rot, disease and pests if grown from root.

Also, Apple Trees need a differing tree to propagate; that is a different strain of apple. You can take cuttings from different varieties and graft them onto 1 base trunk, thus creating one tree that produces more than 1 type of apple.
keggen1 year ago
Thank you for the clear and easy to follow ible! Im going to try this with one of my favorite apple trees! Do you know if there is a certain time of the growing season that it should be done, or not done? My tree is already growing apples that are about half the size they will be in September. Is it too late to try it this year?

To Mark429 there is a root grower commonly used for apple trees that might be helpful in this process. If I were to use it I think I would use a small amount (probably 1 tablespoon only) and mix it in with the dirt wrap to make the dirt moist like you see in the picture.
antoniraj (author)  keggen1 year ago
The best time to do air layering is when the branch starts growing new leaves. Anyhow, try this with your favorite apple tree..There is no harm in trying.
Pojeros1 year ago
When I read this ible, I thought one might use water that willow had been soaked in to increase the rooting. Then I noticed you included a link to a how-to about using willow twigs to make a natural rooting hormone. Thanks for both items! :-)
antoniraj (author)  Pojeros1 year ago
you are welcome... hope this ible will be useful to you..
calskin1 year ago
I've seen this method before, but your ible is very concise and easy to follow. Thanks so much for sharing. It brought this back to mind.
antoniraj (author)  calskin1 year ago
thank you...
WUVIE1 year ago
Your timing could not be better, as this is hubby's current interest. Thank you so much for sharing all of your knowledge.

A very hearty congratulations on your win! Your Instructable is quality stuff, you deserve it!
antoniraj (author)  WUVIE1 year ago
thank you very much for your appreciation and kind words.

And congratulations to you too.. your instructable is also a winner...
Very good! Have you ever tried this with a cherry tree, or a plum tree?
antoniraj (author)  depotdevoid1 year ago
thank you.. this is my first attempt in air-layering. I think cherry and plum trees can also be propagated by this way
Excellent
antoniraj (author)  Rune Cutter1 year ago
thank you...
dchristo1 year ago
excellent idea. will try this at our garden...
foobear1 year ago
Fantastic! So well explained, thank you
antoniraj (author)  foobear1 year ago
thank you for your nice comments...
Very nice instructable. I find myself wondering if I can do this with the Peach tree I have in the back yard.
antoniraj (author)  Giesterfarher1 year ago
Yes, you can do air-layering with your peach tree. I think this is the good time to do.
nice...
nice! can you do this with all citris trees?
antoniraj (author)  pianolover101243531 year ago
yes, you can do air-layering with almost all the varieties of Citrus trees.
k thanks :)
mark4291 year ago
Very Nice A+ , Do you think that using rootone powder or a cloning gel would speed up the process? I think you can get a bottle of rootone for like 6 or 7 dollars (In the US) and I know it works with Rose Bushes... Anyways thanks for posting this, I'm going to try it with a storm damaged apple tree that still has a few good limbs on it. Cheers!
antoniraj (author)  mark4291 year ago
thank you mark429... Do not know whether rootone or a cloning gel would speed up the process. Please try it and let us know.

Instead of spending 6 or 7 dollars, you can make your own rooting hormone very cheaply with willow twigs, which is very safe and environment friendly. Here is the link for making rooting hormone with willow tree cuttings:

http://deepgreenpermaculture.com/diy-instructions/home-made-plant-rooting-hormone-willow-water/
spaz311 year ago
This is really inspiring. Great Step by Step instructions! Thank you for taking the time to make this instructable. I'm going to do this!
antoniraj (author)  spaz311 year ago
thank you
ardnon1 year ago
gotta try this...
antoniraj (author)  ardnon1 year ago
try it, it is very easy
Wepwopper1 year ago
Wonderful! You make it look so easy too. :)
antoniraj (author)  Wepwopper1 year ago
thank you
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