Dawn Redwood - Can they be Air Layered?

I have a rather tall Dawn Redwood (about 4 ft overall). I’ve had it for 3 years now, and it has never budded out a branch below the top foot of the tree. I’m wondering if I could air layer it next spring somewhere below the first branch?

Thanks for any advice/wisdom.

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According to Bonsai Empire they can be air layered but they don’t specify which method. I think if you did a long shari then wired the branches it would look good, though that’s just my take on the photograph.

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Yes - these can most certainly be air layered! I had a Dawn Redwood that I had transplanted to the ground for ~2 years to thicken up. It had grown to be about 6’ tall and I decided to get two trees from one, so I decided to air layer it right in the middle.

I had used the sphagnum moss method where you remove the bark/cambium. While my air layer was successful, I think I was cutting it close because I made these mistakes

  • Got started too late in the season. If I recall correctly I think I started my air layer in late June / early July
  • Removed it questionably early. I took it off the same season sometime in September or October. This was definitely cutting it close. While there were plenty of roots I think it could have used a bit more time on the tree

Other things to keep in mind

  • Remember to cut deep. I’ve had two other air layers fail because the wounds calloused and they bridged the strip of bark that was removed. In those situations I think I failed to cut deep enough and cut a band that was wide enough
  • Don’t rush it. Ryan says that he’s had air layers that have survived over wintering. I’m also here in the PNW - so consistent freezing temperatures are not really a thing. If you’re not getting the roots you want in the first season I’d say leave it and let it continue next spring.

I do have some pictures of this whole process that I can share - I just need to dig them up off an old hard drive to share with you.

Keep us posted on your choices! Best of luck - that’s a very pretty tree you have.

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I decided to wait until next spring in order to make sure that the tree has maximum time to root. Thanks for the feedback and comments. Much appreciated.

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