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When to prune my laurel bushes

Hi all ....I'm new to this site and pretty new to gardening too. I don't know a great deal about gardening but I'm keen to learn.
So, I bought and planted 20 laurel bushes last year and they have really thrived. My question is when do I prune them? Have I missed the best time? With them only being in the ground since last September do I need to do it this year or can it wait? Also where do I make the cut? 
Sorry, for all of questions but with me being a total novice I'm terrified of getting it wrong and harming them.
Any advice is much appreciated:)
Please see pics


  • BobFlannigonBobFlannigon Posts: 619
    Hello, welcome to the forum.

    It depends what you want them to be?  As they look very small at the moment, my first thought was that you don't need to prune them.

    You can prune laurel whenever you like and as hard as you like, so you aren't too late!  Keeping the straightest/most vertical branches tends to look best but it's not essential.

  • I'd pass by and spray herbicide on those blinders ;) 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • Ha ha ...thanks amancalledgeorge  :D
  • Thanks for your reply bobflannigon  :)
    I'm hoping to cultivate a hedge around 4-5ft tall. 
    I have read stuff that says pruning encourages new growth and bushier growth but I just can't get my head around that idea! Cutting something to make it grow.....don't get it lol. Told you....complete novice! 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,099
    Hexagon said:
    I'd prune them now. Cut the main stem down by half and maybe cut two pairs of leaves off the side shoots.

    I agree ... there’s an old gardening saying “growth follows the knife” ... I know that to the new gardener it seems counterintuitive, but read the thread @Hexagon has posted, and trust us ... it’ll be great ... honest 😊 

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

  • LynLyn Posts: 22,861
    edited August 2019
    You may need to thin them out later, they will grow large trunks with a spread of at least 5’ in all directions, apart from height which can be never ending. 
    Mind they don’t push the wall down, they’re planted very close. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Thanks @Hexagon ...just had a look at that thread and those bushes look amazing! I'll be made up if mine look anything like that good in a few years. 
  • Thanks @Dovefromabove....I'm very wary about cutting them but I'm going to give it a whirl this weekend...all advice I've googled previously says cutting encourages growth too Im glad that a real person can confirm that for me. I'll post some pics when I'm done ..assuming I manage not to hack them  :D
  • Thanks for the advice @Lyn ...never even considered they could push the wall down!   :open_mouth:
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,959
    I'd agree with Lyn - if those grow the way they should, they'll be very close together. You could easily take out every second one.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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