What does the air layering technique add to the rooting capabilities over just cutting it off and using rooting hormone.

If the air layer stops circulation in cambian layer what does it matter if I cut it off completely? There must be some transport still working in an air layering that is not, when its cut off completely?

1 Answer 1


Air layering is used when the stem cannot be easily bent down to the ground for ordinary layering. Both types of layering recognize that some plants are hard to root and will root more easily if instead of cutting from the plant and taking the risk that the cutting will not produce roots we leave it attached to continue growing. The host plant then performs a "nursing" function, keeping the layer alive while it simultaneously strikes roots.

The casing is not attached like a tourniquet that cuts off flow of nutrients, just sufficiently tightly to stop the rooting material from drying out. So yes, there is still transport of nutrients happening under the casing. Sometimes it is necessary to "damage" the tissues under the cased area, but only enough to expose some cambium, leaving the majority intact to support the shoot.

  • So if we cut a ring of bark and cambium off the trunk, sap wood and other transports are still occuring?
    – JonathanC
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 10:13
  • Depends on how deep the cut and how complete the ringing. Complete ringing to the cambium is entirely unnecessary. Here is the link to RHS advice on air layering. Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 11:17

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