Beech & Laurel Hedge: Ireland’s Favourite Hedges

row of green beech hedges

The two most popular types of hedging sold in Ireland now for private gardens and commercial developments are Beech and Laurel. They each have their own individual characteristics but both are a great addition to any private or commercial development. Both of these hedges provide excellent shelter and are very good at defining boundaries between properties.

Beech (Fagus Sylvatica)

Beech is a deciduous hedge that actually holds onto the dead leaf for the winter so if planted a proper rate per yard will provide excellent privacy and shelter. It’s the new leaf emerging in the spring that actually shoves off the old leaf so therefore you have coverage all year round.

  • Beech only needs to be trimmed once per year to keep it tidy whereas laurel needs a couple of trimmings as it is very vigerous.
  • Beech is propagated from seed.
  • Beech is available in both green beech and copper beech.
  • Copper beech is the same as green beech but has a purple leaf.
  • Because beech is a deciduous hedge it is more beneficial to wildlife for nesting , shelter etc.
  • Growth rate is about 12 inches per year.
  • Planting rate is 3 to the metre in a single row or 4 to the metre in a double row staggered.

Laurel (Prunus Laurocerasus)

Laurel is a fast growing dense evergreen hedge with a large distinctive green leaf. It tolerates most soil conditions and will also grow in under the shade of trees and walls etc. It will also tolerate extreme wind conditions and also extremes of heat and cold.

  • Laurel can be propagated from cuttings and sometimes from seed.
  • Laurel is a far thicker hedge than beech so therefore there is no way you will see through it winter or summer.
  • Laurel also provides excellent cover against noise pollution so therefore is suitable for planting beside busy roads.
  • Laurel is also very tolerant of dirt pollution e.g. splash from cars and lories etc.
  • Growth rate is between 12 and 24 inches per year.
  • Planting rate is 3 to the metre in a single row.

These in my opinion are the two most popular hedges now being planted in Ireland. They provide dense, fast growing hardy hedges that if planted at the correct rate per metre and cared for the first three years (weed control etc) should provide optimum privacy.