Laurel Hedging – Pruning & Maintenance

garden laurel hedges

Site Preparation For Your Laurel Hedge

The area in which the Laurel hedge is to be planted should be marked with twine or spray marker to ensure that only this area is prepared. This area normally contains grass and weeds. These should be removed from this area completely for 1ft of each side of where the hedge is to be planted.

Laurel Plants Arriving on Site

Bare rooted laurel hedging plants normally arrive in bags and should be treated carefully as not to be allowed to dry out or be exposed to frost. The bags should be kept standing up in a sheltered area away from wind etc. The bags should be checked on arrival as to make sure that the roots are damp. The quicker the hedge is planted the better. If not planting bare rooted hedging within a couple of days they should be removed from the bags and heeled in (stood upright in a trench and the roots covered with soil).

How to Plant Your New Laurel Hedge

There are two main ways to plant a hedge.

  • Using a small digger
  • Using a spade

The preferred method of planting I would use would be a small digger. Basically dig a trench 30 cms by 30 cms. Make sure it is dug to the measured area in a straight line as to ensure a straight hedge.

Insert a gardening fork into the bottom and the sides of the trench as to loosen the soil to ensure better root preparation. The laurel hedging plants should only be removed from the bag as they are being planted and the roots being covered with soil. This is to make sure the roots don’t dry out. The plant should be placed in the trench and covered with clay. Bare rooted Laurel hedging should always be planted to the same depth as they were when lifted in the nursery. This can be seen by the colour on the stem. There will be two different colours. Green and brown. Plant to where the two colours meet. The new hedge should be thoroughly watered in after planting.

Maintenance or Your Laurel Hedge

The base of your laurel hedge should be kept clean form weeds and grass for the first three years at least to ensure optimum growth. The best way to keep it clean is to use tram. This is a black woven material (not unlike sacking in appearance). It will allow water and nutrients to permeate through it but will suppress weeds and grass from growing up around your hedge.

Basically you plant your hedge and level out the soil underneath, roll a 2ft strip of tram out beside your new laurel hedge. You cut a 1 ft slit in the tram every 1 ft where you have a hedge plant. Then just slide in the tram and cover it with wood bark, wood chip or stone chip. You could also the chemical method of weed control. This basically is using a glyph sate based spray at the base of your new laurel hedge to kill the weeds and grass.

You must be very careful not to hit any part of the laurel plants with the chemical as this would have a devastating affect on your hedge.

Pruning of Your New Laurel Hedge

Basically laurel hedging is a vigorous bushy hedge that establishes quickly. You can probably expect 1 ft of growth on your new laurel hedge in the first year and 2 ft of growth in subsequent years. It is probably best to leave pruning till after year 1 to allow establishment of your new laurel hedge.

Then I would recommend that you just trim the sides of the hedge to keep it tidy and not trim the top till it reaches the optimum height you require.

Laurel is best trimmed two or three times a year as it is quite vigorous to keep it in shape. This is best done in June and then the new growth trimmed back in October or November. Laurel hedging is best pruned and trimmed in a dry period to prevent bacterial disease or commonly known as die back If laurel out grows its place in the garden it can be pruned back hard and will recover without problem.