Layer shrubs

A good method for increasing shrub quantities is by layering. Layering is when young branches lay down roots when in contact with soil, while still attached to the mother plant.

Not all shrubs can be layered, but many – including rhododendrons, physocarpus, forsythia and abelia – are good candidates.

Choose young healthy shoots (low-hanging flexible branches with hardened year-old wood are best). Make an angled cut into the shoot, halfway through the tissue. Roots will initiate at the cut. Place a small twig or pebble in the cut to prevent the wound from healing over before rooting.

Dig a small hole and place the wounded stem into it, and cover with soil, leaving the terminal end exposed. Firm the stem in and water. Place a rock over the covered stem to secure it, or bend a piece of wire to anchor the stem into the soil. Be mindful of watering, ensuring that the layer does not dry out. Once substantial rooting has occurred, the layer can be excised from its parent.