French Layering

French (or continuous) layering is a modified form of mound layering (stooling). It is particularly useful for increasing the stock of deciduous shrubs such as dogwoods.


  1. In the dormant season, the stems of the plant are cut back to 8 cm (3 in) above the soil surface.
  2. The following autumn, all but around ten of the best new shoots are cut back, and then pinned around the plant evenly, attaching them to the ground using U-shaped staples.
  3. By the following spring, each bud along the pinned stem should produce a new shoot.
  4. When these new shoots reach a length of approximately 5-8 cm (2-3 in), a layer of soil is mounded up over them so that their tips are just exposed.
  5. This mounding is repeated throughout spring until the soil reaches a depth of 15 cm (6 in).
  6. In the autumn, after leaf fall, the soil is scraped away to expose the horizontal stems.
  7. Each rooted section is then separated and grown on in the open garden or potted up in individual containers.