If you find that your patience for lawn-care chores grows shorter with each passing year, do yourself a favor: Replace some—or all—of your turfgrass with groundcovers. But don’t worry if you don’t have the budget to buy enough plants to cover the space all at once. Start small and grow your own inventory with a technique called layering. You can turn 25 plants into 100 in a single growing season! Here’s all there is to it:
STEP 1. Choose a spreading stem on one of your groundcovers, and use a small sharp knife to gently scrape away the outer bark. Dust the scraped area with rooting hormone.
STEP 2. Hold the scraped area down so that it touches the soil surface, and anchor it in place with a wire pin. (Use wire cutters to snip wire clothes hangers into pieces about 6 inches long, and bend each section into a “U” shape to make the pins.)
STEP 3. Mound 1 to 2 inches of soil over the stem. Repeat this procedure with as many stems as you can. Check the mounded soil frequently, and water to keep it moist, but not saturated.
STEP 4. After a few weeks, tug on the layered stems. If you feel some resistance, that means that roots have formed. Use the hand pruners to cut the stem between the mother and baby plants.
STEP 5. With a trowel, carefully lift the rooted plantlet out of the soil, and then replant it in the area you want to cover.