Japanese Maple air layer conundrum

So I am going to be starting the preliminary design on some Japanese Maples.

One of them has a lovely branch that I think could make a lovely tree.

My thought is this.

  • Make the preliminary structural design BUT ignore the branch I wish to air layer in the spring.
  • Make preliminary structural design to the portion of the tree ABOVE the intend to air layer.
  • In the spring air layer the branch as usual.

In your more expert opinion is this a good approach?

In my experience, this should be fine as long as whatever work is done is not severe. This year you can make some design decisions in the fall, with the knowlwdge that this will reduce the strength and vigor to some degree next spring. Next year when you start your airlayer, you need to keep all the spring/summer/fall growth to drive the development of roots at the airlayer. Essentially just leave it be until next spring, at that time you can inspect the rootage. If satisfied, then the airlayered section can be removed. Its not uncommon in my experience for an airlayer to require 2 seasons to really establish itself. Once separated, its probably best to not remove branches or prune for at least another growing season. The helps to prevent overly stressing the tree and the momentum gained from the foilage will help with the development and/or refinement of the tree.

Good luck with your maples.

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