This root-on-rock tree has been with me for 15 years. I decided to reduce its height, and in the month of January, 2010, I performed an air-layer, to develop some roots that would serve to feed the tree when it was grafted.
The goal of this project was to seat the top third of the tree (the apex) on the lowest third of the tree; in other words, to eliminate the central part. Here I explain the process.
First, I created the air-layer on the part that was going to be grafted.
By the month of March the air-layer was full of roots, so I decided to go ahead with the work in March 2010. This is the tree before the work.
I proceeded to cut off the upper part, that which had been air-layered, a little below the mass of roots. Those roots will nourish the upper part while it fuses to the main trunk.
Then we removed the central part of the tree, which will be replaced by the top section (the apex.)
Now I prepared the part to be grafted: I trimmed away the cambium from the base of that section, exposing the wood. That wood will serve as a support within the trunk.
Now we drilled a hole in the top of the trunk, to graft on the apex of the future tree. The height of the tree was 23”, and now it will have a height of approximately 17”.
OK, now we could check the graft to make sure it fits the hole we’ve made.
We proceeded to fasten the graft with a nail, to prevent any abrupt movement that would cause the graft to fail.
Fastened securely. Now it was time to defoliate so that the graft would attach more quickly.
Now I combed out the roots of air-layer, so that, with time, they would fuse to the trunk and form one single trunk. I placed sphagnum moss on them to keep them humid and help them develop more rapidly. These roots need to reach the surface of the soil in order to develop; the sphagnum is there to help them reach it more quickly.
After putting the sphagnum in place, I covered it with a piece of burlap, so the birds wouldn’t carry off the sphagnum; at the same time, it helps maintain humidity.
And this was the final result (March 20, 2010.) The future remains to be seen.
Here is a picture from June 19, 2010, so that you can see the progress.
Here is a picture taken on September 5, 2010. I repotted and restyled the tree, and arranged the roots. The two sections of the trunk had already begun to fuse. The roots that I am allowing to reach the surface of the soil are there to help the trunks fuse and the wounds heal.
Now I will show you how the calluses of the trunk sections were growing together.
Well, friends, this is how it was on March 9, 2011. The tree was ready to be wired, so that was next.
OK, friends, today I was working with my friend Nacho Marín. We decided to style the tree and prepare it for FELEB 2014. This was the result.