Layering





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

way.



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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