Layering to Fill Gaps in a Hedge

What you’ll need

  • knife
  • trowel

step 1: Find the Right Branch

Locate a branch near the gap in the hedge that is flexible enough to bend down to the ground where you want the new plant to be. If a branch is not quite flexible enough to bend to the ground, cut part way through it to make a weak spot that will bend.

If no flexible branches are available, prune a nearby stiff branch a few inches above the ground. New, flexible growth will come from the stub. Use this new growth when it’s long enough.

step 2: Dig a Hole and Prepare the Branch

With a trowel, dig a hole about 3 inches deep where you want the new plant to be. Bend the branch down so its side is in the hole and mark that spot on the branch.

step 3: Notch the Branch and Stake it Down

At the point where the branch goes into the hole, cut half way through the bottom side of the branch to make a notch.

Press the notch into the hole and hold it in place with an earth staple. (You can make earth staples out of lengths of clothes-hanger wires 8 to 10 inches long and bent into a hook.) Fill the hole with soil. The tip of the branch should be exposed.

In the following months, the branch will make roots at the notch and the exposed tip will begin to grow. When the new growth is large enough, shape it to fill the gap in the hedge.