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  • Writer's pictureShelby Pietersen

The beginner’s guide to air layering your trees

Do you have a tree in your garden or property that you would want to multiply? You can do this through air layering.

What is air layering in trees?

In the wild, air layering happens when a low branch or stem touches the ground and takes root (milkwood trees do this). Air layering is pretty simple. You need moist sphagnum moss to wrap around a wounded section of the stem. Wound an area in the middle of a branch by peeling the bark away, then wrap the moss around the cut and secure it with floral ties or plant twine. Cover the entire thing with plastic wrap to conserve moisture.

The actual time for any plant to produce roots will vary but will average a couple of weeks to a month. Once you have roots, remove the plant material and pot it up as you would any plant and enjoy.

What are some of the advantages of air layering plants?

  1. This technique results in a good-sized plant in a matter of weeks instead of months or years

  2. There is a minimum of disturbance and no adverse effect on the mother plant

  3. During propagation, both the mother plant and the new plant continue to develop

  4. The new plant will have characteristics identical to the mother plant

  5. The success rate is high when using good-sized plants

  6. You can shorten the juvenile period of a plant (i.e., the time required for the plant to attain its fruit-bearing stage). Additionally, the new plant tends to be stronger and more mature than those propagated by any other technique

  7. More rapid and stronger root growth reduces the period of propagation

  8. Valuable space and time in attending to rooting trays, etc. is saved

What is the disadvantage of air layering?

This technique is initially labour-intensive and time-consuming.

Why use air layering?

The process of air layering can be applied to old and new trees/shrubs. It can allow Bonsai enthusiasts to sculpt a tree and its roots or create a clone from a rare tree. Some trees have

difficulty sprouting from seed or take longer to root with other methods, which makes them ideal candidates for air layering.

What Fruit Trees Can Be Air Layered?

Nearly all fruit trees can be air layered, but some may require more skill and patience than

Others. Some of the most frequently and successfully cloned fruit trees via air layering include: (Note, there are many trees which we have not mentioned below which can be air layered.)






Apple Trees

Hazel Nut


Cherry Trees

Pecan Nut

Macadamia Nut Trees

Pomegranite Trees

Apricot Trees

Fig Trees

Pear Trees

Can You Air Layer Pine Trees?

Pine trees can be air layered but they are one of the hardest trees to do so. It is reported that the air layering process on pine trees can take up to 2 years.

Can You Air Layer Oak Trees?

Oak trees are one of the harder species to air layer due to their asexual nature, thick skin, and other factors. But with a bit of luck, skill, and perseverance, oaks can indeed be air layered. The best time to perform an air layer on an oak tree is by far in the spring.

Can You Air Layer Olive Trees?

Olive trees are considered to be one of the easiest tree species to air layer.

Mid-August is widely accepted as the best time of the year to perform air layering on olive trees. The new clones are often ready for removal the following spring.

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