Acer Palmatum "Shaina" Air Layering Experience?

Hi everyone,

I stumbled at the local nursery across a beautiful AP “shaina” with great potential. HOWEVER: below the first branch is a straight trunk line, approx. 3 feet long. So, in order to make this tree a bonsai, I will have to air layer it.

Does anyone of you have experience in air layering AP Shaina? I did not find any useful results on the internet so far.

Feedback much appreciated :slight_smile:



Well, here’s my 2 cents…
I air-layered a Shaina 2 years ago; I had bought it the year before, and it was a healthy and vigorous tree. Right after the new growth hardened off that Spring, I did the usual: cut off the ring of bark, added rooting hormone, wire tourniquet, used a black plastic pot with no bottom around the cut site which sat on top of the soil surface (the layer was very low on the trunk of the tree), even used akadama to pot it up. It went so smoothly that in fact, I thought it was one of the best air-layers I ever did. Within a month the tree was dead. Very humbling experience, as I’ve done at least 15 Japanese maple air-layers in the past and never failed before. So if I would ever try it again on this particular witches’ broom cultivar, I’d cut ‘windows’ in the area to be layered, and leave enough bark intact to feed the tree.

I have not tried an air layer with a Shania, but with two other dwarf varieties I found that leaving the air layer on till the second season helps. The dwarf varieties just don’t recover as quickly as the standard varieties. My 2 cents.