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The grape is readily propagated from layers of either green or mature
wood, the method being certain, convenient and producing extra
vigorous plants. The drawback is that fewer plants can be obtained by
layering than from cuttings with a given amount of wood. Varieties of
some species, however, cannot be propagated by cuttings, and with
these layering becomes of supreme importance to the propagator. Nearly
all varieties of Rotundifolia and some of AEstivalis are best grown
from layers. So far as is known, all varieties of cultivated species
may be grown by layering, and since the method is simple and certain
and the vines vigorous and easily handled, this method is commended to
small growers of grapes.

Dormant wood layering.

The work of layering mature wood usually begins in the spring, but the
vines from which the layers are to be taken should have received
preliminary treatment the preceding season. The vines to be layered
are severely cut back a year or more before the layering is to be done
to induce a vigorous growth of canes. Strong vigorous canes are laid
in a shallow trench, two to five inches deep, in which they are
fastened with wood or wire pegs or staples. The trench is then partly
filled with fine, moist, mellow earth which is firmly packed about the
cane. Roots strike and shoots spring from each joint. When the young
plants are well above ground, the trench is completely filled, and
then, or a little later, the young plants are staked to keep them out
of the way of the cultivator. The following fall the young vines are
ready to transplant.

The essentials of layering have been given, but a number of
non-essentials may be helpful under some conditions. Thus, dormant
wood may be layered in the fall, in which case the cane is usually
notched or ringed at the joint to induce the formation of roots. The
less the number of joints covered, the stronger the young vines, so
that while the number is usually five, six or more extra vigorous
plants may be obtained by covering only one or two joints. In
propagating Rotundifolia grapes, it is expected that lateral branches
will make the tops of the new plants. These, at the time of layering,
are cut back to eight or ten inches, all on the same side of the
vine, and are not left closer together than twelve inches. In nursery
practice, Rotundifolia vines are trained along the ground for
layering. Vines on arbors, in greenhouses, or on sides of buildings
are easily layered in boxes or pots of soil. Plants grown from layers
are not as conveniently handled as those from cuttings.

Green wood layering.

Layered plants from green wood are sometimes grown to multiply quickly
new or rare varieties. The work is accomplished in midsummer by
bending down and covering shoots of the present season's growth.
Strong plants are seldom obtained from summer-layering and it is never
safe to attempt to grow more than one or two plants from a shoot. The
most forceful culture possible must be given summer-layered plants
after the separation from the parent vine. It is very generally agreed
that plants from summer-layers not only do not give good plants, but
that the parent vine is injured in taking an offspring from it in this

Layering to fill vacancies in the vineyard.

There is sure to be an occasional gap even in the best vineyard. Young
plants set in vacancies must compete with neighboring full-grown
vines, and often in a bit of land so unfavorable that it may have been
the cause of the demise of the original occupant. Under these
circumstances, the newcomer stands a poor chance for life. A plant
introduced by layering a strong cane from a near-by vine has little
difficulty in establishing itself on its own roots, after which it can
be separated from the parent. Such layering is best done by taking in
early spring a strong, unpruned cane from an adjoining plant in the
same row and covering an end joint six inches deep in the vacant
place, but leaving sufficient wood on the end of the cane to turn up
perpendicularly out of the soil. This free end becomes the new plant
and by the following fall or spring may be separated from its parent.
Not infrequently the young plant bears fruit the second season on its
own roots. This method is of especial value in small plantations,
whereby the trouble of ordering one or two plants is avoided and the
advantage of early fruiting is obtained.

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Previous: Herbaceous Cuttings

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