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Cherry Laurel - small children and worried

hi. I’d really welcome your opinions. We’ve moved into a house with numerous cherry laurels which provide privacy and are well established (and out of control). I am worrying myself silly about the berries. I’ve only just become aware they are poisonous. I have 2 children and one of the kids is definitely the type of kid who would gleefully eat one of the berries. I’ve checked on google which has served to make me even more worried. Panic panic panic. 

How dangerous are the berries if ingested? Poorly tummy? Death?

should I be getting rid of them entirely?

Many thanks in advance. Sarah 


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,653
    This plant easily gets out of control but also responds well to pruning to keep it well behaved.    Give it a good trim and that will improve its shape and remove all the berries too.   Not too late to do it now if you can get at it with hedge trimmers or loppers but don't leave it much later.

    Have a look at this for info on care -
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,167
    Remove the flowers then you won’t get berries. 

    If you keep the laurel hedges trimmed you probably wont get flowers anyway. 

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

  • HelixHelix Posts: 631
    We have them as a hedge, so trimmed.  We have a few flowers, but rarely set berries.  Maybe a handful a year at most. I can’t find any recorded instances of serious poisoning from the berries. 
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,416
    They're found in most Victorian school grounds but you never really hear of children dying from eating them, so I guess they're not extremely toxic, or so foul tasting that they're just spat out immediately. Polish people apparently make jam from the ripe ones. But obviously you will warn your kids to leave them alone. 
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    How young are your children? My two-and-a-half year old grandson is learning that he must not eat plants and berries he finds unless a grown-up says it is ok. He's a strong minded sort of boy but he seems to be accepting this without demur. My own children were the same. If the youngster is a baby you may need to be more careful, but I think you could do a quick garden check before he goes out each day. He won't be able to reach much.
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