air layer, Bonsai, boxwood, follow up

Over the past few years I have attempted multiple air layers on boxwood and have never done a follow up. Examples of posts that describe my attempts include Working Back a Boxwood and A Big Boxwood Experiment. The reason I haven’t been excited to do a follow up is… none of them have succeeded!

The method I use, as demonstrated in this video, definitely works on other species. I have a couple of successful holly layers, and several Japanese maples all made the same way, but on boxwood, I just haven’t had success!

An example of a layer applied to a Japanese maple. This one was successful.

I know roots started to grow on my attempts, however, so if I try to layer boxwood again, I will leave the layer in place for more than one growing season. My error, then, was not confirming that enough roots had grown before removing the layer. I have always been very cautious handling a newly removed layer and avoid manipulating the moss that has been wrapped around the site for fear of braking new roots. I should have known better though. Successful layers on other species have many visible roots when I remove them.

In the meantime, I am making progress on the big boxwood that has been the test subject. A lot of back budding has developed, unwanted branches have been removed, and the dead half of the rink has been carved. I plan to repot and wire it over the next few months.

The deadwood side of a large boxwood that has not layered successfully when attempts were made on unwanted branches.