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Six Successful Steps to Air-Layer Sugar Maples

Six Successful Steps to Air-Layer Sugar Maples

Air-layering is a favorite technique of arborists and tree professionals attempting to replace part of the sugar maple population that died off in recent years due to environmental stressors and disease. The biggest benefit of air-layering is that you can use mature and established maple trees to obtain new material for repopulating maple trees. Air-layering may seem complicated, but it can be successfully implemented in a few, relatively simple steps.

The Process

Six Successful Steps to Air-Layer Sugar Maples

  1. Start at the correct time: Look at your tree; if the leaves are fully grown and the new green wood is starting to show red marking, you’re ready. If not, wait a while.
  2. Select the correct branch: The more new growth a branch has, the more vigorous it is, so look for one with lots of green wood.
  3. Remove bark: All parts of the bark should be removed from a strip about three centimeters long. You want to remove the bark deep enough so that the green cambium is visible but you haven’t yet gotten down to the white wood beneath.
  4. Use a rooting hormone: It helps things along if you apply a rooting hormone to the exposed cambium. It’s best to do this gently in a thin layer, using a paintbrush.
  5. Wrap the branch: Wrap the branch in three steps. First use dampened peat moss to keep the cut from drying out, then add a few layers of plastic wrap to seal in the moisture, and finally use duct tape to hold everything in place.
  6. Label the branch: Use a permanent marker to label the branch with the date so you don’t forget when you started, especially if you plan on doing multiple rounds of air-layering.

The Results

Six Successful Steps to Air-Layer Sugar Maples

After you have completed all these steps you can expect your branch to start to develop roots within five to twelve weeks after the air-layers are applied. Then you can cut the branch from the tree and transplant it into a pot until it is mature enough to plant in the ground.

If all of this seems like too much effort for you, you can call us at Caledon Treeland. We can do all the air-layering and propagating work for you and have plenty of Red Maple trees for sale. If you’re looking for a variety we also have spruce and pine trees for sale. We can answer any of your tree propagation and care needs. Call us today at 905-880-1828.

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