The Hornbeam is Air Layered.........
Todays picture is of a Hornbeam tree. Right in the middle you see a round ball (aluminum Foil) that is full of sphagnum moss wrapped around the prepped trunk.
So let me start at the beginning.... I chose this tree because of the wonderful trunk, with funky roots, twisting in the air. At the bottom there is nice, developing nabari. However in the middle, there was a very long, straight trunk, all the same width. It wasn't attractive, at all. So.... I bought the tree, then studied the trunk hard, decided where I would split the tree, and began to prep for an air layer. Step 1. decide where to cut... I took a knife and girdled the trunk where I wanted a new base. One inch lower I girdled the tree agin.
Step 2. Then I carefully stripped, or pared, all of the bark off at the level. I removed the cambium and the xylene... the life giving physiological structures in all plants.
Step 3. I painted the upper area with rooting hormone, lavishly.
Step 4 . I carefully and completely wrapped the cut area with soaked and drippy sphagnum, very tightly to preserve all the wet.
Now, the tree is outside, in the sunshine. Goal: to grow a whole new set of roots on the top half of the tree. It will take 6-8 weeks to accomplish. In the meantime after 3 or 4 weeks, I will periodically check the top to make sure it is still wet. At the same time I will be able to see the progress of the root development.
When all of this is done I will have 2 independent trees. The original trunk I love will have to have a new apex grown..... the new top tree will have to grow nabari and a new trunk. It is quite a challenge, one I have done before with great success. It is very exciting to watch this happen, grow and nurture a tree to something really beautiful!
More to come as it happens and grows.