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New Laurel Hedge - Help Needed Please


Firstly I'd just like to say this is a fantastic forum, and is a lifesaver for people like me who don't have a great deal of gardening experience!

Towards the end of March I planted a new rootball Cherry Laurel hedge at the bottom of my garden, but am a bit concerned it is not going well. I kept the hessian sacks on, and dug away few inches deep all grass / weeds etc from the surface. I dug an individual hole for each plant, and mixed fish blood and bone and new topsoil to put around each rootball. I then mixed some grow sure into the surface and forked in. For reference they around 1.5m high

The laurels seem to have a lot of yellow leaves, and one of them all of the leaves have wilted but are still green

I have pruned the laurels slightly (only around the top 6 inches or so and a few side shoots), and have removed all the yellow leaves. I water every 4 days or so, and the soil lower down has not really dried up at any point. I know I need mulch, but struggling at the moment to get hold of any at the moment

The area itself gets a good mix of sun and shade throughout the day, and I have grown other things in the area fine before (red robin, oleaster). They were all pot grown however

I would be grateful if anybody can perhaps shed some light on what exactly I should be doing? My concern is really the yellow and wilting leaves, and also if and where I need to prune back any more in order to achieve the hedge we want? We would love a nice dense hedge around 7 foot or so high but understand this will not happen overnight and takes work

Thanks in advance



  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,147
    Yellow, wilting leaves is perfectly normal, so don't worry. Pruning back is the best thing to do as that helps them to establish and bush out. It also  means they aren't trying to cope with keeping loads of foliage healthy.
    I'd make that border much deeper though. 
    They're just planted, and you've done pretty much everything right. Keep up with the watering though - they need a lot, especially in this dry spell.  :)
    Take a look at this thread too
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,315
    I'd cut back a bit more grass to decrease competition for moisture, otherwise they're fine. 
    The recent much warmer weather may have stressed them a bit, but as it's cooled/ cooling down they should settle in well. 
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,307
    They don't look bad at all...but they don't have enough space to grow currently... they'll ruin that flimsy fence in no time. I personally find them terribly boring plants but please consider how wide they get...trimming them to a width that doesn't allow the plant to develop properly will look ugly in long-term as their foliage is so large frequent clipping will just show massive leaves chopped in half, which is very ugly.

    The humble Ligustrum ovalifolium is so much better for a more formal look and can take size control more graciously. But you have it there and have done well on the preparation. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,143
    Doesn’t anyone think that they should have been taken out of the hessian sacks, I’ve never planted anything with the roots in the sacks. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Hi All

    Thanks for getting back, I wish I had found this forum before I started the work. I definitely think I have planted too close to the fence

    I will remove another section of grass in front of them today and give them a good water

    @amancalledgeorge I agree with the Privet, we have a very large established one near the house about 3m high (not planted by us) and it looks great and is so easy to keep looking neat. We have mostly natural borders so no problem if I have to remove the fence - I put it up before planting hedge

    @Lyn I must admit I was very confused on this one, I looked at quite a few websites and the general advice (although there were a few who disagreed) was to leave the hessian sacks on and just to loosen them at the base of the stem?

    Regarding pruning them do you think I should cut anything back further at this stage or just leave as is for a while?

    Thanks again
  • EtoileEtoile Posts: 7
    Hi all, my apologies if I am not posting in the right place however I too would need some help with my laurel hedge. A tree surgeon that did some work on my property planted 3 laurels to replace a dead conifer hedge. 2 out of 3 are looking ok with some yellow leaves but nothing too sinister. The one beside our house however is very droopy with yellow and crisp leaves. 

    I mistakenly didn’t fertilise/feed them after planting which was done mid-February. Given the warm weather we’ve had and the fact that I haven’t left my house, I only noticed the sad laurel a few days ago. I’ve watered it since and put some compost by the roots. I also ordered bone meal which I’ll sprinkle on top as soon as it arrives. 

    Do you think I am doing the right things? And will I be able to save my plant? 

    The laurel is about 6ft tall and was planted as a root ball. 

    Many thanks in advance 
  • EtoileEtoile Posts: 7

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,147
    edited April 2020
    I was going to say that too @Lyn, re the hessian. I've never been convinced about leaving them in it, despite the amount of rain we get here [and you do too] which, in theory, would rot it. 

    @stella.kinnunen- if they were 6 foot tall, I'd have cut them back by at least a third after planting. Don't worry about feed, it's not really necessary just now. Keep watering - plenty of it.  :)
    If it's right next to your house, it will be drier too. The compost after watering will help retain the moisture a bit too.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • EtoileEtoile Posts: 7
    Thank you, glad to hear not all hope is lost :) 

    in terms of cutting, do I just cut from the top or all around? Apologies if the question is silly, I’ve never had a garden before let alone a droopy laurel hedge ..! 
  • Thanks @Fairygirl for posting the other laurel thread, certainly a lot of good info in there

    I followed the advice and took about another foot or so of turf away in front of the laurels and have been watering. They seem to look ok and the wilted one has sprung back to life

    In order for the Laurels to bush out and knit together, can somebody please advise if I need to cut along the blue lines or thereabouts? Or will the red circled area bush out naturally? I would rather cut now if needed but at the same time if they look to be doing well I’ll leave well alone


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