Air Layering Marcots in Crowded Branches (Nong Nooch vine)

I've always favored marcotting (or air-layering) as a propagation technique over stem cuttings. If possible, I would air layer several branches of a garden plant all at the same time.

One limiting consideration with multiple air layers in one garden plant is when the branches for air layering are crowded and or are too close to each other.

Crowding of branches happen when there are simply too many branches in the garden plant, especially in one spot. One option you have is to marcot the branches at different times, meaning, continue airlayering only after harvesting the other marcots.

Or another option is to air-layer another spot or node along the branch so you avoid hitting another branch when air-layering.


Disadvantages of Air Layering Crowded Branches

  • Marcotting Needs Space

    If you've seen my style of marcotting, you'd probably notice that it takes a bit of room to carefully wrap the sounded part of the branch with the soil or marcotting medium and then to wrap the medium with some plastic sheet.

    Tying the ends of the air layer also takes a bit of space for finger and hand maneuvers.

  • Danger of Breaking Branches

    Marcots that were made on thin stems are vulnerable to breaking with a short tug or pull. The continued marcotting activities to nearby branches increases the risk of hitting or pulling the completed marcots which may result in breaking them.

    I had the misfortune of partially breaking one marcotted branch. I was able to recover it though by splinting the marcotted branch.





Successful Marcotting in Tight Spaces

To create space when marcotting a plant with crowded branches, I simply use a stick to pin or stake branches to put restrain them while one branch is being marcotted.

Materials
  • Bamboo stick - 6" to 12" long, 3/16" to 1/4" thick.
    I use the disposable bamboo sticks used to skewer barbecue or satay. Alternatively, a piece of stick or dried twig will suffice.

Procedure
  1. Carefully study the position of the branches of the plant which will be marcotted. See the best sequence of marcotting, whether it's from left to rigth or right to left. Marcotting can be done either way.


  2. If one branch obstructs the air-layering of another branch, hook the stick on the obstructing branch, preferably close to a leaf or branch node.


  3. With the stick still hooking the obstructing branch, carefully swing the stick pushing the branch to the side towards the pot.


  4. Upon reaching the pot, stake the stick into the soil so the branch is immobilized in that position, as shown below. Avoid hitting the roots of the garden plant.




    By immobilizing the obstructing branch, you can work freely on the other branches without without the obstructing branch getting in the way.


  5. With the freed up space, begin the steps for air-layering the branch you chose to marcot.


  6. When the branch has been air-layered, move to the next branch, using the stick to move aside crowding branches. Continue doing this until all the branches have been air-layered.

    Notice how the branches, as shown below, have been neatly air-layered even if the branches are so close to each other.


With the above simple steps, you don't risk breaking marcots (on a newly marcotted branch). At the same time, you're given adequate room to work on the other branches.



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