If you want to do something that’s really fun in your yard, give this a try.
The art or technique of air propagating, commonly known as air layering, has been around for years.
But my friend Hong has created a little plastic device that makes the process simple. Watch the video…
Air-layering is a method of reproducing plans by inducing roots to form on a plant stem without cutting off the stem from the parent plant.
It is an excellent way of replicating an existing plant without disturbing the parent plant. Air-layering can produce larger plants which are readily mature much faster than growing them from seed or cuttings.
The air-layering procedure is to remove the ring of bark from the stem, to enclose the exposed stem with a moist medium, and to keep the medium moist until enough roots for transplant are formed.
Air-Propagators work with almost all trees, shrubs, and vines – including plants which are hard to root from cuttings.
However, stems of some plants (such as vines) are very fragile and require extra care when you remove/scrape the bark away.
Where can I get information on ordering that clamshell device for air layering? Please let me know.
Missouri Margot says
Just plant it in a sunny spot! But the new tree you get might not be like the one that the seed came from. My peach trees from seed have really small peaches on them, but they’re yummy and they ripen much later, so I get two crops of peaches each year!
Phyllis. Poole says
You can do this on a lower branch and bury it in dirt after opening the stem a little it will grow roots there and can be separated after it has sufficient roots
Thomas Suttles says
How do you grow Plum & Peach Trees from Seed?
Charline Jolly says
We had great results with leggy old Rhododendron plants. Just cut a little notch in the branch, put a tiny pebble in to keep it open, wrap in wet moss, then black plastic,
A variant method with sprawling branches is: make a big staple with part of a with coat hanger, Notch the branch and scoop a little potting mix over it. Looks more decorative than black pouches hanging there.
Darrel R. says
Mike they have those air propagators at amazon.com might not be the same brand as yours but they are the same, maybe you would want to add a link to amazon.com for your readers
Don Tremblay says
Can this method be used at this time of year? I have a pear and cherry tree that needs to be pruned and was thinking of using this method on some suckers that are growing up high in the tree. Thanks for your help
I think early spring would be better. Warm temps help with rooting.
I’d like to add the caveat that many fruit trees are grafted onto roots from other varieties, and that this is often done to contain the size of the tree. An air-layered sport from a dwarf apple, for instance, could grow into a full-sized apple if raised on its own root stock.
This looks like an excellent way to put to use all those water suckers you get on fruit trees each year. Rather than just cutting off and throwing them away, stick a propagator on the bottom where they sprout off of a lateral branch and let them root up first and then remove for a nice long whip. I would think if you pot up those whips by the end of summer you should have nice branched trees available for fall planting season. What do you think?
Without a doubt, great way to reproduce fruit trees.
Douglas Michael Hutchens says
Mike I ordered some of these some time back and haven’t used them yet. What time of the year is the best time to put them on say a Pear tree. I’m 67 and there is a Pear tree on the farm here that I’ve eaten pears from every year of my life. I’d love to be able to get some on the clamshells on the tree so we can maintain that particular one.
I think spring is the ideal time to place these devices.
Thanks for the tips!
I just use a water bottle for my clamshell. Cut it in half then make a slit from top to bottom. Cut a little hole in the bottom and slide over the branch. Fill each half with dirt or moss and slide each half together. Tape and cover with tinfoil. Come back in a few weeks and voila!
The clamshell propagator sounds great – I just haven’t found a distributor yet in British Columbia, Canada. My retirement career of landscaping lends itself to propagating quite easily and I’m very interested in going further with it. I’m always trimming specific plants or buying unusual plants and growing them. Why not sell them and keep the money for a travel fund. Also am interested in the Backyard Business Growers Centre, although I’m quite a distance for the BBQ parties! I would like the monthly subscription to the Growers Centre, but dumped all my credit cards four years ago. I now pay by cash, cheque, or money order. Are any of these acceptable to you? (Sorry this is a long story ,…)
Of course they are, just contact Duston in the office. [email protected]
Try this http://airpropagator.com but you have to know that I don’t use them for propagation. They do work, but not practical on a large scale.
James Ito says
Excellent info for a. Low income senior VIET.vet.Thanks!
I watched your video and got inspired 🙂 I air propagated a young river birch tree. I believe it is a Heritage River Birch. I was going to remove the branch anyway due to it growing from the lower side of a main trunk, so I thought I would give it a try. I used pieces of black trash bags. It worked great, there was a fist size root ball. there were nice thick roots so I removed the branch which was fairly large, taller than me 5′ 4″ (which may be the problem, I’m not sure.) and potted it in potting soil so the root ball could get bigger. Within 2 days all the leaves of the air propagated branch have dried up and are now brown. The soil is not dry, I have watered and we have had a lot of rain. Is it just in shock from being cut off the main tree? Should I wait and see what happens or did i kill the poor thing…? 🙁
where do we buy the device for air layering? mimi
Mimi, just got to https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/ and look on the right or on the products tab at the top.
Anon….. Make your own out of a plastic bag, cut it down one side. Tie it, fill with good potting soil, Water it with a syringe.
You can also used a plant pot standing on an upside-down plant pot for lower branches. Lots of ways.
Me, Are the clamshells reusable? They look like they are. Thanks.
Dudley Louvier says
I bought the clam shells. When is the best time to air layer, Spring, Summer or Fall? I want to do a crabapple, tulip tree, and some dogwood trees.
hi mike i have used this propagators but i have a huge problem with small black ants that invade the ball and make a nest inside,,, then theres no more compost for the roots to grow.. is there anybody out there with a good non chemical ant killer that i can use inside the ball .. will really apreciate any ideas ,,, love and regards from china
Buy some diatomaceous (sp?) earth. It is safe and quickly, overnight gets rid of ants.
Amdro at the base of the tree.
Kit Merritt says
Might try cinnamon. I’ve used it several times to discourage ants and it has worked great.
Peppermint plants around the base of the tree, peppermint tea used to water the root ball, or mix a couple drops of peppermint oil in the soil. Lots of strong smells like peppermint disrupt the chemical trails ants use to navigate. Good luch!
alot of your suckering bushes you can take alower branch & bend it to where it touches the ground, dig asmall hole & beary the branch, first bending it till it snaps, not all the way off the mother plant bury & watter, dig up in spring and plant. not all will root but most will. I have good success with hony suckle . keep it wattered.
Hans Gruetzenbach says
I have been using a little different system for quit a while. I bought 1000 small plastic bags for about $11.00 + $6.00 shipping. I put in about 1 ½ cup of growing media ( 1 part peat, 3 parts Perlite) Seal the bag with an old seal a meal sealer. Then store the bags for future use. I cut the bag, tie it around the wounded limb. Tie it on with electrical tape, cover it with Al. foil. Wa La, 2 months later I have baby plants. My success rate yesterday was 29 out of 31 rooted.
Hans P. Gruetzenbach
Stephanie McCully says
Hans, I like this idea. I think I will try it. Thanks!
Hi Mike! I ordered mine a couple of weeks ago and I already have them on 4 of my favorite rose bushes It was really simple to do. I think it was kind of late in the season to start them but I just had to try them out. I would love to get enough rose bushes to line my driveway. Thanks Mike for all the good info you have given us.
Mike, I have some nice grafted Japanese maples of about 10 various types. They use trident maples for the root part. Would the air propagated plants look like the various 10 types I started with?
How can I tell when they need water added?
I guess I’ll just wing it, and hope for the best. I figure any extra will run out the bottom. Things dry out REALLY fast here in Phoenix, so I want to make sure the rooting material stays moist enough.
You might put plastic wrap loosely around it to keep the moisture inside from evaporating as quickly. In Ohio, I water them every 2-3 days.
Donnie Adams says
I odered the clamshells and have already received them, Want to try them on hardwood trees such as Hickory, Sycamore. Mr.Park is a very pleasant person to speak with, he speaks highly of you also. Hey I’m still making the dirt farmers fudge! Good stuff. Thanks for the video on the Clamshell Air Propagators.
Donnie, good luck with the clam shells, it’s an interesting an amazing process. But nothing trumps Dirt Farmer Fudge!
Mike, do the resulting trees thrive? thanks
I have no long term experience using this system, but layering, which is all that this is, has been used for hundreds of years I would guess. So I’d have no reason to think the trees won’t thrive. When you remove the clam shell make sure to loosen the roots to break the pattern of them growing in a circle. That way they’ll quickly establish into the new soil.
What is the largest diameter branch that these can be used with?
Without simple modification, about 3/8 to 1/2 inch is max. There are pre-scored tear outs for the branch, but they can be enlarged a little with a sharp knife
I just ordered mine. Wow and I get to use my own trees!
I will let you know how this old lady does.
chuck wolfe says
Ordered a couple of these clams on May 30th,recieved on June 4th.Fast and freight ony$5.99.I’m happy.
I ordered mine June 8. I hope they get here soon. I really want to get started.
Motley, our backyard growers have ordered recently and they are telling me that Mr. Park shipped their products very quickly so I’m sure you have the product by now.
Marty Persilver says
Mike luv your emails. Mike this isn’t something new been using this system for over forty years. My grandfather showed me this when I was a kid but we use burlap,nylon strings and good fertile soil.Just spray them with the water hose when needed. I have to admit I never tried it on anything but figs hadn’t dawned on me that it would work on other trees lol. PS: black plastic and duct tape are awesome also
This is one of the best things I’ve seen come along! Please let us know as soon as you get the ordering info. I’m certainly interested in ordering some and will pass this video on to all my gardening friends. I’m sure they’ll be equally as excited. Thanks so much for sharing this with us!!
Gwen, ordering information is in the above post.
This is the best idea I’ve seen in years.
I have just ordered three dozen of those
jerry yates says
will it work on dogwoods. thanks
Jerry, I’m sure it will.
This is the same idea I use for my tomato plants,etc…. I start my tomato plants from seed well before Christmas and by spring I have a very large leggy plant in my window and I put potting soil filled pouches around each stem.. I have a dozen and more hearty plants from one plant.. It works great for me so I can see where this is a great idea!!
I want to try that! But how does it work? It seems a bit like the loaves and fishes.
antony king says
That was a wow factor for sure Mike. I would love to try that on a hazelnut or perhaps a Harry Lauder … what do you think? Thanks for the wonderful demo and I am sure it will be a hit!
Antony, I’m sure it will work on the Harry’s Lauder’s Walking stick. They respond well to regular layering.
Do you have any knowledge of how well the new trees do after detaching from the mother and planting.
I just checked on buying those clam shells. The price isn’t bad, but the shipping is the same cost as the product, doubling the cost of the order.
Apparently $5.99 is the shipping cost for each type of product, no matter how many you buy. This brings S&H way down per item if you order several of a kind.
I ordered 5 3-packs of the clam shells. I’m going to try them on my carob tree.
I have a houseplant that has gotten too tall. I would like to reroot it halfway up the stem. However, I’m concerned this might kill the plant since it’s the only stem it has, unlike the trees shown in the video. Is this possible?
Mike – is there a code I should use at the AirPropagator website so he knows you sent me??? He asks me to “Enter Code For Special Offers” on his purchase online page.
Ran, no, I don’t have a code for you to use.
What season should you do this in. You don’t mention, isn’t yhat usually important?
I’d do this technique from spring through summer while it’s warm out.
Franny Rustand says
I just bought several of the clam shells after seeing your video. I know you said you would do this in the spring and summer but I wanted to know if this process works in the winter months? I live in zone 6 in Oklahoma.
Amber Kalb says
Will this work on roses? Just trees? Other plants? Thanks Mike