Zelkova Air-layer outcome

I was hoping for the best, and expecting the worst. Even the parent tree had a very one-sided root system. Still…?

It was 2017 when I created and separated the layer, and in 2018 I wasn’t convinced it was strong enough for root work, so I delayed it to this spring. Glad I did, but I’d been curious how it worked out for 18 months.

The moment of truth…

Ugh.

So I pruned it back to a single plane, and what I hoped was live tissue. Then inserted a screw to anchor it to the pot, and trimmed the roots back a little.

Secured it to this pink Shibakatsu pot…

Packed the freshly-cut underside with sphagnum moss…

And topped off the tank with straight akadama.

Fingers crossed for better luck this time. Here is a shot in early May before the first haircut.

And in November at the end of the growing season. When then leaves fall, it will be time to carefully prune to direct growth.

So in November, an early hard freeze zapped the leaves of any chance for fall color:

So they were removed…

Branches were pruned so the terminal bud was facing outward. Thicker shoots were cut shorter, resulting in this:

And what was left was tied up for the winter:

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