In addition, air layering is indispensable when pruning trees with either
overlong sections between the roots and
Ichi-no-eda (first branch) or trees
whose roots have poor extendabilities. However, you cannot make many
bonsai plants in one time, and air layering can leave scars if it failed.
First, you make a cut  
on the upper and
under sides of the
skinned part. You then
make vertical cuts.
Remove the bark and the phloem along
the cuts so you can see the
Removing the phloem can prevent
nutrition such as carbohydrates and
photosynthates produced in the upper
part of the tree and hormone for growing
roots from being delivered downwards.
These substances will just be stored in
this location. To help the roots grow
evenly, you should cut the upper side of
the skinned part into sawtooth shape.  
If you keep cambium, the cell division
tissue, new bark will grow. So you should
remove the thin layer of cambium. This
will expose the xylem underneath. As
long as the xylem is there, nutrition and
water will be transported from roots to
the upper part of the tree. So the tree
will not wither.
After wrapping the skinned part with akadama and sphagnum moss, peat
moss or other water retaining media, you should water it so that it is not dry.
Flourishing leaves indicate enough roots have grown out. If not enough roots
have grown out for the tree to go through winter, you should prune the
parts in the following spring. If new roots have developed, then you should
pay special attention not to hurt them, especially the root tips. You then cut
off the lower half of the skinned part, remove water retaining media and
arrange the roots before planting the tree into a bonsai pot.
navigation to description of bonsai trees repotting
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navigation to description of roots pruning
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bonsai longevity
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navigation to the page describing how to collect wild plants for bonsai.
navigation to description of air layering
navigation to description of cuttings
navigation to the page describing how to start from seeds.
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“Air layering is a method for propagating trees through the removal a large
branch or a section of the trunk to create a new tree. One of the main
attractions to propagating bonsai material through air layering is that you
can create a sizable new tree within one growing season, as opposed to the
other methods - except collecting - which all involve several seasons of
development. ”
Though it sounds difficult, it may in fact be quite straightforward to apply.
“Removing a branch from a desirable tree or bonsai requires the removal of
the bark,
cambium, and phloem. This prevents carbohydrates and
photosynthates from flowing down the trunk, past the removal site, but still
allows water and mineral nutrients to flow upward to the leaves through the
xylem. Thus, the tree will not wither. Nutrition such as carbohydrates and
photosynthates produced in the upper part of the tree and root growing
hormones are stored at the removal site where roots will grow out. The
removal site should be 1" wide all the way around the branch. It must then be
protected with sphagnum moss, peat moss or other water retaining media,
wrapped to in dark poly or tin foil and allowed to root. When there are
enough roots to sustain the branch independently (approximately between 3
to 6 months depending on species) the branch is cut off of the "parent" tree
and then the new bonsai is planted in the ground or a large, deep pot. ”
                                                                                      By Tom Regan
The Air Layering Method
  1. The best time is between spring when the tree buds and summer when
    the tree's growth is the most active.
  2. The most suitable part to remove the bark, cambium and phloem is the
    node, namely the place below where the trunk and the branch diverge
    or the leaves grow. This is where roots can grow the most readily.
    Indeed, where the most branches grow is where roots can develop the
    most easily.
  3. Cut the upper side of the skinned part, where roots grow, into
    sawtooth shape. This can make roots grow evenly.
  4. To grow roots you must keep pruned parts of bark, cambium, and
    phloem moist for a long period. The usual way to do this is to wrap the
    skinned parts with soil, sphagnum moss, peat moss or other water
    retaining media to maintain the moisture.
  5. Like cuttings, young and healthy branches can grow roots more easily.
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2. Collecting Wild Plants
4. Cuttings
3. Air Layering
Key Points
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