Air layering an Arakawa Maple

First off, I changed the title of my blog from sikadelic’s bonsai blog to Gray St. Bonsai. Nuff’ said there. On to the work!

I used my trusty tailgate workbench again (my wife cleaned up the garage and I’m waiting for the kids to dirty it up before I add my mess).  The tools of the trade from left to right: a Ziploc bag and zip tie, long strand spaghum moss, plastic wrap, grafting knife, and a bucket of water. And oh yeah…the tree of course. 


Today I’m working on an Arakawa I purchased from Martin Sweeney. He’s a private seller who has some great stock and very considerate of his customers. It is a bit tall which actually drew me to the tree. It has a lot of options but is limited by the forking branches…hence my desire to layer one and start building a nice feminine figure (settle down).


The nebari will likely need some work but I haven’t reported it yet. I look forward to reporting it next year and seeing what’s under there. 


I bought this moss off Amazon for about 8 bucks. It came in a 1 pound bale which is a much better deal than buying a small amount from your local box store. 


I grabbed a few handfuls and threw it in my bucket of water to get nice and wet. 


Swim around in there a bit and check for stalks that can poke a hole through your bag and be a general pain in the ass. 


I used my grafting knife to make two rings about double the width of the branch I am working on. 


Scrape away the cambium and make sure to get down deep enough that it won’t grow together and heal itself. 


I got my bag where I wanted it and used the zip tie to hold it in place. By the way, those things are handy. I recommend having a few sizes on hand. They’re helpful for all sorts of things. 


I added the moss to the bag a little at a time to get a tight fit. Make sure to squeeze out the excess water. Once I had a good softball sized wad of moss around the cut, I wrapped it tightly with plastic wrap to hold everything in place. 


I left the top open so the moss can stay damp when it rains or I water it. I also poked holes around the bottom so it could drain. 


Now it’s off to the shade for a week or so before heading back out to the bench. I’ll give an update when I see some progress. 

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