Air-Layering Technique to Revive Dried Marcots - Nozzle Bottle Solution

A few days ago, I noticed some of the newly marcotted or air-layered Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis) had foliage that looked a bit wilted. These were the leaves of the foliage on top of the air-layers. The rest of the foliage of the plants looked healthy enough.

It's been particularly warm in the past few days and so I guessed the air-layer medium (coco dust) was drying up. Looking at one of these air layers confirmed my suspicion.

From the plastic-wrapped air layer below, you'll notice the air layer ball doesn't look "full" and the plastic sheet seem to have detached somewhat from the air-layer medium inside it.

When pinched, the air layer seemed a bit crumbly which is an indication of a medium that's dried up. This air-layer was made a month ago and I was curious its roots aren't visible yet. Other air layers of this plant have rooted a week ago already.

Technique to Revive a Dried-Up Air Layer

To make the air-layer wet with water again, I thought of putting water into it. But how?

A simple solution I had was to use a bottle with narrow-tipped nozzle like the one below.

This plastic bottle has a cap with a built-in nozzle. It is similar to a ketchup or mustard dispenser but the nozzle on the cap has a comparatively smaller opening. It would likely be used for liquids like vinegar, soy sauce or something similar.

The bottle is closed with the screw-on cap with a built-in nozzle. The cap can be fully removed as shown below.

How to Moisten the Air-Layer and Keep it Wet

  1. Carefully untie one end of the air-layer or marcot. It doesn't matter which end will be untied. But it is better that it is the one oriented on top. That way there won't be unnecessary sudden or twisting motion that may break the air-layer.

  2. Gently peel open the plastic sheet with an opening that is just large enough to insert the narrow-tip nozzle.

  3. Insert the tip of the nozzle into the opening and squeeze on the plastic bottle containing water. You may also want to add a few drops of growth-hormone into the water to aid in the rooting process.

  4. You will notice that the water floods the inside of the air-layer with most of it being absorbed by the air-layer medium. When some water starts to spill out, stop.

  5. Carefully re-tie the end of the air-layer to close it.

  6. Upon tying, you'll notice the air-layer to be more "full". The plastic sheet now adheres to the wet medium of the air-layer that has been soaked with water.

Result of the Air-Layering Solution

Three days after wetting the medium, I noticed there were now visible roots in the air-layer.

I cut to re-pot the air-layer with a technique to harvest and pot air-layered plants.

With this technique, the Cape Honeysuckle dried up air-layer responded favorably with new healthy vigorous roots in just three days.

If untying the air-layer seems like an unnecessary chore, then a technique where a syringe injects water to the dried air-layer may be a more effective and sustainable solution.

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