Forum home Problem solving

Portuguese Laurel hedge - when is best time to trim for new growth?

My street has been plagued by vine weevils for several years though I think their numbers are now dwindling.  The hedge around our back garden was once THICK with foliage, but the weevils nibbled the leaves so severely that the hedge is no longer dense.  It looks a bit ravaged, and the privacy it used to give us has been reduced.  The leaves are more plentiful on the surfaces of the hedge, where they sprout from the tips of the branches.  INSIDE the hedge the old leaves have been very badly nibbled, so that many of them are still there, still green, but severely depleted.

Tiny new leaves are currently sprouting from the tips of every branch, but in July it'll be time to give the hedge its first trim of the summer, so I can see that when it's trimmed then all the spring growth will be removed and the practically leafless inside of the hedge will be exposed again.  It'll be back to Square One!

So will it hurt if I trim the sides quite severely (say 3 or 4 inches) NOW  (early March)?

The west-facing side (the thickest side):


Below: the east-facing side (not so thick).


Below: a close-up which gives an example of the damage over the entire hedge.


Thanks for any advice.



«1

Posts

  • Dave HumbyDave Humby HampshirePosts: 1,142
    You can be absolutely brutal with pruning PL and it will love it. It regenerates growth from branches with no obvious existing buds. The more you prune the thicker it will get. Personally I would avoid pruning in a very cold spell. Other than that the timing is pretty good now or certainly in the coming weeks. 
  • Thanks, Dave Humby. 
    You sound like you know PL well, so can you recommend the best kind of feed for them?  I'm thinking bonemeal, or "blood fish and bone", or tomato feed, or Miracle Gro solution.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,939
    Seaweed is ideal for foliage. Tomato foods, and probably Miracle Gro , are for flowering/fruiting plants.
    A general feed of B,F&B is good in spring as it's a slow release food, but a foliar feed of seaweed is good in spring or summer, applied on a dull day  though, not in sun. 

    If you're cutting it back, a good tidy up and some B,F&B mixed in at the base, followed by a mulch [after rain or a thorough watering ] will help.
    You may also want to look at applying nematodes for the weevils though, as they can be hard to get rid of once you have them. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Dave HumbyDave Humby HampshirePosts: 1,142
    We have two. One is now a fairly substantial hedge, the second is a nice upright tree of about 8ft. We don’t feed either and they gallop away with growth of their own accord so have never felt the need to give them additional nutrients. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,939
    Yes - in decent soil,and with good conditions they shouldn't need anything @Dave Humby
    It can simply give  a boost after hard cutting back though.

    I never feed any of my established hedging either  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Dave HumbyDave Humby HampshirePosts: 1,142

    This is the ‘hedge’ bush. It is a single mature plant that we’ve slowly been reducing in size to something more manageable. When we moved here this ‘tree’ was about 6ft higher and came out to the road sign. It was a monster. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,939
    Good workout for you though @Dave Humby ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Dave HumbyDave Humby HampshirePosts: 1,142
    Fairygirl said:
    Good workout for you though @Dave Humby ;)
    Lol @Fairygirl I have to be honest and that it’s had two sessions with the tree surgeon. It’s a beast and our drive is another couple of feet or so lower than the kerbside so reaching the top was always somewhat precarious to say the least. It was also about 8ft deep so quite a challenge. We liked the height visually but it was just unmanageable so we’ve had it reduced to a height and width we can now manage. I prune it at least three times a year to keep it in check so I still get a bit of a workout! 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,939
    Cheaper than the gym tho' eh?  ;)
    I used to do my Dad's beech hedging and that was the problem with it - it was about eight feet deep too.
    He had all sorts of gadgets rigged together for reaching the far side. Standing on top of a ladder, it was hard to do it without a wee bit of swearing   :D
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Thanks @Dave Humby and @Fairygirl for further thoughts.

    What a handsome hedge, @DDave Humby" 

    I'll stick with the Blood, Fish, and Bone then, @Fairygirl , because I know it's worked well in the past.  There's lots of Portuguese Laurel on my estate, and those who have used BFB have the healthiest hedges.

Sign In or Register to comment.