Has anyone used air layering on a Paperbark Maple?

Asked May 11, 2014, 5:36 PM EDT

I bought a Paperbark Maple several years ago...I did not realize until recently that it is a rather rare and prized tree in part because it is a difficult tree to propagate. I basically planted in a raised box planter full of clay, shale soil... not good quality is an understatement. I have never watered it and it gets full sun....it is now about 12-14 feet tall and 6-7 feet wide. I read seeds are almost always infertile so how do I get more? Will it die if it outgrows its "box".

Beaver County Pennsylvania

1 Response

Although it may not have been intended - the use of clay in your container soil has likely benefited its growth and the use of shale has aided in drainage. Your specimen has likely achieved about 50% of its mature height and breadth. If you are happy with its current appearance I would recommend continuing the same regimen but paying some attention to watering.

Without knowing the size of your container it’s difficult to estimate how much additional growth might be accommodated.

I have not had experience in air layering a paper bark maple and my research suggest that others have not been successful. It is more commonly practiced on other Japanese maple species. Propagating a paper bark maple is difficult and typically done only in the controlled environment of a nursery operation. However, if you are so inclined here is a link to a step by step approach to air layering: http://www.gardenguides.com/82652-propagate-japanese-maples.html
It won’t cost you much – other than some time and attention.

Good luck with your efforts.