Use Layering to Successfully Propagate Your Plants

One of the easiest ways to propagate new shrubs from your existing ones is by layering. In nature, many shrubs will propagate themselves by layering naturally. As a low branch lies along the ground, roots will sprout where it touches the soil. No special equipment is necessary, and this is almost a fool-proof method of gaining new shrubs.

Berry bushes like gooseberries and currants, bramble fruits such as blackberries, loganberries and raspberries and even grapes can be propagated this way. Ornamental shrubs are also good candidates for this method of propagation. Its easy to have success with shrubs like escallonia, mock orange, roses, wisteria, azaleas and barberry. Other plants that naturally propagate by layering are periwinkle and pachysandra ground cover. Ajuga and strawberries send out runners or stolons, which will root and multiply, another form of natural layering.

Layering is successful because it differs from other propagation methods such as taking cuttings in that the new plant is nourished by the parent until its roots form and can take over. Because of this, layering can be done almost any time in the growing season, but the best time is in early summer or spring when the plant is most actively growing.

If you’d like to try layering, go with this simple method first. Choose a healthy lower branch, and cut or scrape the cambium layer on the bottom side of the branch, in the spot where you would like roots to develop. If you want, you can apply some rooting hormone to the stressed spot. Remove any leaves that are close to the area. Now, peg the stem in a small depression in the soil, and cover it. You might need to set a brick or rock on top, so it does not spring up. Allow it the growing season to form roots. Rosemary, currants, myrtle, rhododendrons and forsythias are good candidates for this simple layering. By the following spring, your new plant should have a strong root system and can be moved to a new location.

Bramble bushes layer naturally by forming roots where the tips of the long branches touch down. You can use this method with your own bramble fruits such as raspberries, by pegging the tip of a branch in a depression and covering it with soil. The tip will curve up and continue growing. Roots will develop on the buried section, and as healthy growth develops, sever the new plant from the mother and relocate it.

It is also possible to propagate several new plants from one long stem with a layering method known as trench or compound layering. Long vines such as honeysuckle, grapes, clematis and wisteria are good candidates for this method. Simply lay a long vine that has a series of buds or leaves in a shallow trench. Bury every second bud or leaf node, removing any mature leaves that might be buried first. Each buried node should root and when new growth is healthy, each section can be separated and transplanted.

Propagating by layering is best done in spring, so the new plant has a complete growing season to form a strong rooting system. Spring layered plants can often be separated from the parent in the fall for transplanting. Plants that are layered later in the season should not be disturbed until the following year, so the new plant has a full season for a healthy root system’s development.

Source by Nicki Goff

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