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Trouble establishing new laurel hedge

I’m having trouble establishing a new laurel hedge at the front of our house. There’s a lot of laurel in the neighbourhood so it shouldn’t be an environmental issue. We’ve tried twice now, planting bareroot specimens approx. 50cm tall in November. I don’t think it’s a problem with the stock though, as we’ve used the same plants in the back garden and they’re doing well, but inevitably there are some differences between the soil and other conditions. We watered both locations with the same frequency. We live in Surrey so it never gets that cold.

1) the hedge at the back is sheltered by a high fence. In the front, there is no shelter. The purpose of the hedge is to provide som privacy from the road. To provide some support, we staked the plants at the front. After the first batch died, we replanted (the following November) and covered the soil with mulch, in case the soil was being dried out by the wind (it can be a little windy on our road). We’ve considered putting up a temporary fence to provide some shelter, do you think this will help?
4) the reason we are planting laurel is partly because our previous hedge, a privet/box mix, was infected by box blight. We replaced with laurel because it’s supposed to be more hardy. When the laurels died, the leaves went yellow and now we have a front garden full of sticks, but it didn’t seem to be the same as the box blight
6) when planting the last lot, we noticed a lot of what look like stag beetle larvae in the soil. Could this be a cause, or an indication of the issue? Should we try testing and/or changing the soil?
9) should we just stop throwing good money after bad? I’d be happy to pay an expert to come and take a look if I could find the right person but we’re getting to the point where we’ll just have to put up a boring old fence instead.

Any suggestions or experience on this topic gratefully received!


  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,619
    Are you sure it was stag beetle larvae you found? They normally inhabit dead trees rather than soil. Could it be the dreaded vine weevil grub?
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,314
    Hi @KeriM and welcome to the forum. 
    How big were the grubs? I'm with @steephill, sounds like vine weevil are the more likely culprits.
  • KeriMKeriM Posts: 2
    Thanks for the suggestions. I hadn’t heard of vine weevil before, just googled them and I’m quite sure that’s not what I saw. Mine are about 6-7cm long and creamy white/grey with legs attached next to the head section. So if not stag beetle (which I understand are quite rare) then definitely something similar. Plus if stag beetle like dead trees, they’re certainly in the right place with all the dead laurels in my front garden 😂
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