Trench Layering

Also known as etiolation layering, trench layering is primarily used for fruit trees which are difficult to propagate by other methods, and works best with plants whose buds will break and grow under the soil, such as willows, viburnum, grapes and dogwoods.


  1. The parent plant is planted at an angle of 30-40° to the ground so that branches may be pulled down to the soil surface more easily.
  2. A young, vigorous branch is laid horizontally in a 5 cm (2 in) trench and pegged into position.
  3. It is then covered with soil to encourage the development of several new shoots.
  4. As these shoots develop, soil is filled around them and roots eventually develop.
  5. The rooted shoots can then be detached from the original branch and planted out.