This past spring I layered two large hinoki cypress (see “Hinoki Air Layer”). I was unsure of the project’s success when I started and I remain uncertain today. The results so far are mixed.
Tree #2 layer
What accounts for the difference? The layers were done at about the same time and according to the same basic technique. There were, however, two differences that stand out to me. One is the root hormone used. Tree number 1 received liquid root hormone, while tree 2 received cloning gel. The different hormone could have made a difference, but I believe the more important distinction is that the healthy tree was repotted in bonsai soil the previous year while tree 2 was still growing in a mix of clay (from the ball and burlap treatment) and pure organic soil. As this isn’t a controlled study, I have no way of knowing to what degree, if any, these differences actually contributed to the results.
I took a peek to see if the healthy tree has sent out roots, but I didn’t see any in the tiny spot along the trunk where I looked. That said, a friend who bought a hinoki from the same batch has spotted a few roots in the tree he air layered this past spring. Although the roots are small, the tree is healthy. I’m not sure what kind of hormone was used, but I do know the tree was repotted and is growing in bonsai soil.
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