How to Air Layer a Tree

Have a favorite fruit tree and want to have another one just like it? Would you like to give your children a meaningful gift of their own tree from the back yard “family” tree? Want to create a personal gift but want it in weeks not years? Airlayering is your answer.

Project Difficulty


Mosser Lee
Products Needed

What You Will Need


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Air layering is the successful method of plant propagation that has been used for centuries by the Chinese. It is a simple and easy method of rooting a branch of a houseplant, shrub, or tree while it is still attached to the parent plant. Using Mosser Lee’s Air Layer Grow Kit, any gardener can obtain the same fabulous results achieved by professional growers. This demonstration uses Mosser Lee’s Air Layer Grow Kit.

While Mosser Lee Company did not discover the art of air layering, it makes it easy with its complete Airlayer Grow Kit. The kit contains the supplies needed to complete up to 10 airlayers: Long Fibered Sphagnum Moss, plastic wraps, ties, rooting powder, picks, and complete instructions.

The secret to the process is Mosser Lee’s long-fibered sphagnum moss. This Wisconsin farmed moss has the incredible ability to hold up to 20 times its weight in water with slow evaporation. Roots need a damp but not soggy environment with low chance to succumb to aggressive bacteria. Long Fibered sphagnum delivers on both fronts!

Easy directions to air layer plants:

  1. Open Mosser Lee’s Air Layer Grow Kit. Included in the kit is:
Cut into tree limb
  1. Select a healthy, young woody branch on the mother plant. Locate a node on the branch. Cut an upward-slanting notch drawing the knife toward the center of the plant just below the node. The cut should be through the center of the stem, but make sure that you do not cut all the way through the plant’s stem.
place rooting powder in wound
  1. Place the wooden toothpick in the wound to keep it slightly open.

Place wet sphagnum moss around wound
  1. Apply a small amount of rooting hormone powder inside and outside the wounded stem cut area.
seal with plastic and tie
  1. Soak a handful of Mosser Lee’s Long Fibered Sphagnum Moss in a bucket of water, squeezing out the excess until it ceases to drip. Place the wet moss around the wound at least 1″ thick. Hint: The thicker the moss the longer it will stay moist.
Cut branch from tree
  1. Place a sheet of plastic around the moss making it almost airtight by closing both ends with wire ties. Hint: You could use string if your stem is very thick and need larger ties. The plastic wrap should not leave any gaps.5
plant new tree
  1. When the moss ball seems to be full of white roots, cut the plant below the roots and plant the branch with the attached wad of long fibered sphagnum moss in a container filled with potting soil and place it in an area of subdued light. Caution: Do not cut the branch from the parent tree until you are certain that sufficient roots have developed for the plant to grow.

    Depending on the type and hardness of the stem, roots should develop within a few weeks for indoor plants and a few months for outdoor hardwood plants. One of the unique features of long fibered sphagnum moss is that it holds upwards of 20 times its weight in water and retains in for an exceptionally long time. If the moss does dry out under the plastic wrap, you may have to rewet the moss with a small amount of water by opening one end of the plastic and applying water.

Plant Care:

Your new plant needs to become accustomed to its new environment. For some time, it has been fed through its parent and now it must learn to live on its own. You can help it by not fertilizing your new plant to start with and only applying moderate amounts of water. The long fibered sphagnum moss will keep the root system moist for some time and will rehydrate as you water the plant. Gradually increase the amount of light and fertilizer.