Using Coconut Husk for Air Layering or Marcotting

The coconut husk is one of the by-products of the coconut industry. Coconut husk is also known as the mesocarp component of the coconut fruit. Many have found uses for the coconut husk especially in the agricultural and horticultural sectors - coco coir, coco chips, coco pith, coco dust and many more. Still, in some areas, it is discarded and then later dried as fuel.

I've used coconut husk mainly as part of my air-layering propagation materials. I keep coco husk pieces in dried form and kept in a plastic bag. It doesn't smell or rot and keeps for quite a while. When it's time to use it for marcotting, I just pick one piece or tear from a larger piece.

Shown below is a cutaway graphic of a coconut fruit. As shown, the mesocarp comprises the thick and tough husk part of the coconut.

The part of the coconut husk that I use is the topmost part because the material has fine fibers that is water absobent and is easily stretched out. The topmost part of the coconut husk is shown below.

Advantages in Using Coco Husk for Air Layering or Marcotting
  • Free. In the wet or fruit section of many small markets, this part of the coconut is simply thrown away. I just pick or ask for a few pieces.

  • Good Wrapping Material. In the Steps to Air Layering, I've mentioned how the coco husk is stretchable and able to hold the soil medium in place, thus minimizing spillage when marcotting.

  • Organic. When I'm ready to harvest and pot the marcots, I don't remove the coconut husk anymore. Firstly, removing the coconut husk runs the risk of damaging the tender roots of the marcots. Secondly, and best of all, the coconut husk is organic and can be buried into the ground with no problems.

  • Reusable. In the event that the air-layer or marcot has failed to yield roots, I could simply remove the coconut husk and reuse it.

How to Prepare Coco Husk for Air Layering

  • Coconut Husk - several pieces

  • Small pan or bowl: 1 pc.
    I simply use a discarded disposable paper bowl for instant noodles.

  1. Tear a few pieces of the coconut husk by hand, as shown below.

  2. Soak the pieces in a small bowl or basin with water. Place a rock on top of the coconut husk pieces to keep them submerged.

  3. After an hour, the coconut husk would have absorbed water and have become soft.

    Pick one piece and cut off the thick hard sections with a pair of pruning shears. Cut the piece to the desired length and width.

  4. With the thick and hard sections removed, stretch the piece's fibers into a sheet or web-like material. This can now be used for wrapping the soil medium onto the branch for marcotting as outlined in the steps for air-layering or marcotting.

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