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Laurel Planting

Hi, looking for advice on planting a laurel hedge.

I have had a row of conifers removed but the stumps remain in. People advised that they are well established and close to neighbours fence and removing them might cause problems. I’m now looking to plan a hedge row about 4 meters long. I’ve dug down about 2 spade depths in front of the conifer stumps and then I hit roots. I don’t think it’s going to be easy to get through that.

Question is, if I put laurel in there, could there be issues because of the tree roots?

Thanks in advance for the advice. Very new to gardening!



  • Sounds like a recipe for disaster trying to replace problematic plants with new ones that are as vigorous. If you can't remove the stumps then you will have to wait a bit for them to rot and maybe plant a native hedge of some sort than the useless laurel that will get equally out of control in the future.

    Probably a photo of the area and its conditions would help get more detailed responses by other on here that have more experience with hedging plants. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • LynLyn Posts: 22,873
    I don't find Laurel useless, mine is 5’ Deep, stays thick and green all winter providing dry cover for birds,  they nest in there in the Spring, whereas the native hedging on the other three sides loses its leaves and provides no weather cover at all. 

    The answer to the OP no the roots won’t be an issue if they are conifer, once you cut them down the roots will gradually rot away, 2 spade depth is just about ok, can you use a pick axe to get down a bit more.  Drop in some rotted manure or home made compost,  they’ll survive in anything, I’ve got them huge in a dry stone wall, living with hardly any soil. 

    Don't make the mistake of buying large plants, or planting too close together, it doesn’t work either way,  if you wait until November you can buy bare roots at about 2’6” to 3’, when you’ve planted them cut them back by 6” then in the spring keep pinching out the growing tips until they shoot out at the bottom, that will give a thick hedge, then stand well back, they’ll be up there in no time.  Photos attached of mine.

    planted in winter 2013
    this is June 15.

    this is 20 17

    Now we keep it at 5’ depth and 6’ high. 
    I wouldn’t recommend it in a small back garden as it grows very large, you’ll lose half your garden! but for a border hedge out of the way I think it’s ideal. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Idea is to plant in front of the stumps.

    When you say useless laurel, do you mean in this case or generally not good for hedging? Some neighbours have them and they seem to be a good option.

    Reason for removing the old trees is because they had been stripped bare very high and weren’t offering privacy.
  • Lyn, looks like a nice hedge. It’s really to finish off the very bottom of a 20m garden. There will be room behind them to care for them both sides. 

    With buying the taller plants, can they be a problem?
  • LynLyn Posts: 22,873
    Have they got to be that close to the stumps, could you get a work party up to help you remove them, if not you can you pick axe out around them, the roots of the Laurels will need to have something soft to get going in,  you’ll need to enrich the soil a bit to get them going quickly. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 9,612
    Small young plants will establish more quickly.  If you buy tall plants, you'll need to cut them back anyway to make them bush out. 
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • LynLyn Posts: 22,873
    You won’t gain anything by buying large plants, that’s a big mistake, they need to get established under ground well,  so as to make a good root system, they won’t do that when they’ve got a lot of top green to feed. 
    If you buy large plants, say 5’ you will have to cut them back to 2’6” anyway, so you re better buying 3’ and cutting back to 2’ 6”. 
    There a good thread on here I’ll see if if I can find it.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • LynLyn Posts: 22,873
    Have a scroll through this thread Andrew, the opening poster made the mistake of buying large plants, thinking it would give him a ready grown tall hedge! 
    If you scroll right to the latest post you will see what he achieved over a few years.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,980
    I'd agree with @Lyn - they make excellent hedges, providing you have enough room, as they're not like Privet or Beech etc which you can keep tight.
    Smaller specimens are the way to go, and as it's almost bare root hedging time, you'll get some good choices with the online hedgeing specialists.
    If you can't get those roots/stumps out, you could put in some edging with timber, and battens to hold it in place, and then fill with manure/soil/compost to give you a decent border to plant into. It wouldn't need to be high, but it would give you that extra wee bit of depth to get them off to a good start   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thanks for the responses. Had a good read through the start of that thread and then skipped to the end. Very impressive results indeed. They’re going to need some maintenance!

    Glad to hear about the smaller plants and makes sense. I was thinking about the shortcut of putting in tall ones. I think I’ll go for small ones and wait for them to establish.

    Can anyone recommend a good online nursery to get laurel from? 

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