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New Laurel hedge disaster


I am not a Gardner but did lots of research before planting a laurel hedge.

I needed a hedge for a privacy screen as I have new neighbours. 

I had a wall built 1.8m tall but the neighbouring house could still look in my Windows.  I built a raised bed off the wall 600mm high x 700mm wide.

I bought 45no. Root ball 8 year old mature laurels, they were roughly 2m tall and looked fantastic. I planted 600mm apart.

The soil I put in was good.  My first query is that I put a spread handful of bone meal in each hole and mixed in the soil then planted.  Now I read that I maybe should of used Root grow.?

Could I mix root grow and pour over the soil now?

The day I planted the hedge looked brilliant.  I staked all the plants low down at the bottom and tied with rubber straps.

Diaster struck when a storm moved in on Monday 11th March.  I could of cried and never slept much this week.  From having beautiful leafy laurels there are more leaves on the ground than the hedge.  They just look completely tattered and I don't know if they will survive.  I would say the lost about 40% of their leaves and took a serious battering.

I contacted the supplier and he just said I didn't realise you lived in an exposed area.  I said should I cut them back as I have read this and he said what was the point of buying tall if you are going to cut them back.

I have 8 left over in the garage that I didn't get planted and they look great.

I really need this hedge to grow.

It doesn't help when everyone tells me I should of looked at the weather forecast. 

Will they survive and can I help them in anyway.





  • PerkiPerki Posts: 2,368
    When did you plant them Adrian ? One of the problems with large plants in exposed area is windrock , when the plants starts to grow out of its rootball the wind rocks the plants ripping / damaging the rots you will have to stake them for the time being . Another problem is the raised bed was they a reason why you couldn't plant them in the ground ? anyway raise beds tend to drain / dry out much quicker than if they were in the ground, not much of a problem as long as you keep them well watered.

    What colour were the leaves which were on the floor ? have they been blown off or maybe something else like wind leaf scorch, normally cold winds in exposed areas can cause this.
  • A.douganA.dougan Posts: 25
    I just planted them on Saturday.

    The leaves that blew off were all luscious green.

    The raised bed was to gain height over the wall.

  • A.douganA.dougan Posts: 25

  • A.douganA.dougan Posts: 25
    That was the first day after the storm.

    They lost a lot of leaf.

    I haven't taken any photos today but you can see more brown stems than leaves. 
  • PerkiPerki Posts: 2,368
    Looks like the wind ripped them off , do you know if the supplier had kept them under cover like in a poly tunnel ? its unlikely they have been kept indoors but plants need to acclimatise.  They not much more I can recommend other than making sure they don't dry out. I live in a exposed area myself and laurel when established have no problem with the conditions . 
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,699
    edited March 2019
    I have to disagree with your supplier's comments. The photos you post shows very long whippy and spindly growth that will never grow well long-term. You should prune them back. I think by around one third or half of the current height.

    They will lose leaves in strong winds, so don't worry too much about that. They are adjusting to the new conditions. Any mature shrub will take longer to adapt and settle in, and unfortunately, the weather has not helped much in this instance.

    The most important thing is good soil preparation. Each shrub planted in well with no air pockets around the roots. A very thick layer of mulch of bark chip or more compost. No need to worry about feeding them. The first few years will be about keeping them well watered during the growing season.
  • A.douganA.dougan Posts: 25
    Thanks for the help. They were grown outdoors but sat rootballed at least 5 weeks that i know of before I collected.

    Should I cut back now or wait until roots establish? 

  • Andy19Andy19 Posts: 671
    If mine I would prune back to just below the wall height as it will grow back thicker. It would also get shelter for sometime being lower than the wall to get it's roots a good strong growth into the soil.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,979
    I agree ... cut hard back. That’ll lessen the stress on them and let them get their roots established. 

    If you incorporated a slow release fertiliser when preparing the site then I wouldn’t feed again now ... just let them get settled. 

    Theyll be ok and you’ll get a lovely tall thick hedge, but you will have to be a little patient. 😊 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • A.douganA.dougan Posts: 25
    Hi.  So it is ok to cut them back now even though they were only planted 1 week ago. 
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