Any tips on air layering?

Does anyone have any tips on air layering?
To get the ball rolling, here are a few-

  1. Use tin foil (baking foil/ aluminium foil/, aluminum foil) to cover the wet moss. It’s easier to apply than plastic and you can shape the top like a funnel to catch water.
  2. Use thin wire to secure the foil, top and bottom. Don’t trim the ends so you can open the foil later to check, then re-apply with the same wire if it needs more time.

I don’t use wire on the top. Better to use grafting tape which stretches a bit. If the top wire gets too tight it can affect the success of the layer. Never heard of using tin foil though, will it not heat up the moss during hot weather?

I have done a few air layers. I use pretty much the same technique on all species I have tried so far with no complete failures to date. Here’s a couple of things I do:

  1. keeping the layer moist is key, so I make sure to seal the plastic and keep the moisture in. I find it pretty easy to use zip (cable) ties to get a good solid, tight seal.
  2. I put a tie around the centre of the layer (give it a belt) to help keep positive contact between the cut section of the branch and the moss.
  3. I have substituted coir peat in for sphagnum when I haven’t had any and it worked just fine (I’ve only done this once though … on a JM). I actually found the roots were easier to spread/separate after removing the layer.
  4. I mix both rooting powder and gel together to make a paste and brush that onto the area where I want the roots. I find it’s easier to get the hormone where you want it, and it stays there while you apply your moss around it.
  5. I put tinfoil around the outside of the layer. Rather than heat it up, it actually helps to keep the sunlight out … roots like the dark.

Here’s a few pics which hopefully help to explain some of the above:
Here’s the maple layer I talked about when I put it on:

And here it is after 8 weeks:

…and when I separated it about a month later …


Most of the time, I use a black nursery pot with mineral soil and sometimes wrap it up with a black plastic bag. It roots just fine that way. Granted, that’s on trees I can water every day.

Hi @Keith-in-UK
Foil will heat up less tan black plastic, and become its thin, it won’t retain heat.

Hi @Ryceman3
Loving the coir peat and gel idea!

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