Old rubber tree

Dwight E. Howell deowll at usit.net
Sat Mar 14 00:28:29 EST 1998

Richard Mersch wrote:

> Colin,
> Thanks much for your reply.  I really hate to bother you more (and
> show our
> ignorance), but what is "air-layering"?  If you could point us in the
> right
> direction we would appreciate it greatly.  We're really amateurs at
> this.
> Hmmm...  Could get bigger.  Does this mean home remodeling?
> Colin Will wrote in message <3502AEC6.5BD4 at virgin.net>...
> >Richard Mersch wrote:
> >>
> >> My wife has had a rubber tree for about twenty years
> >> Snip
> >> Can anyone give us advice as to anything else we should do for this
> old
> >> friend?
> >>
> >> TIA.
> >
> >
> >Try air-layering, to get a new and maybe more vigorous plant. Seven
> feet
> >in twenty years isn't all that much - nearly a foot a year is
> possible
> >with unrestricted root room. Try scraping the top layer of compost
> out
> >of the pot every year, and replacing it with fresh compost - that'll
> >give it a boost.
> >
> >Best wishes.
> >
> >Colin Will

  I would suggest your local library would have a book illustrating this
but here goes.

At a point  at least a foot or so down the stem make a v shaped notch
breaking the bark. Wrap the injured region in a ball of sphagnum most
wet with water and maybe a bit of liquid plant food. Wrap the ball in
plastic to keep it damp. In time the plant should put out roots from the
injured bark into the wet moss. You can cut off the plant below these
new roots and plant it in a new pot. I don't recall how long it takes
before the roots form but I would suggest waiting at least a week before
even checking.

If you do this to a limb rather than the trunk the plant will want to
grow as a limb rather than as a trunk. Not nice and straight.

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