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Laurel Hedge bare lower down

Hello.. new gardener here.. 

We recently purchased a small holding and eitherside of the drive we have laurel hedges. We think they are about 15 years old. The problem is that the lower ground to 2ft is bare with no leaves or stems (unlikely correct word).

Can I do anything to resolve this lack of growth in the lower hedge ? 

Thanks in advance Jim


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,762
    Yes - you can cut them back, which will promote new growth.
    Often, the bare lowers stems on any hedge are due to the way it's been trimmed. 
    Have you a photo?
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • This can be caused by shade from the top part of the hedge so as Fairygirl has said trimming it back should help produce new growth. I have read the base of the hedge is best left slightly wider than the top so light can reach the bottom without being shaded by a wider top to the hedge.
  • NewBoy2NewBoy2 Posts: 1,813
    When I planted my 10 Portugeuase Laurels I was told that in 3rd year to cut the tops only and quite hard so the plants will then push out more buds on the first 12" of the plant.

    It worked.
    Everyone is just trying to be Happy.....So lets help Them.
  • heres the picture sorry home after dark.. 
  • Picture in response to @Fairygirl
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,762
    Hmm - not the best photo, but I think the main problem there is that they've already been cut 'back to the wid' as we say here, so you may need to be quite patient.  :)
    As @robairdmacraignil says - when the top of the hedge is wider than the base, it blocks light to those areas, but I think another problem there is that the hedge has also been cut back to the main trunk in a lot of cases, which will make it more difficult. The good news is that laurel is almost indestructible, so it will grow back  :)
    All you can do is trim the top half back a little further, to achieve the correct shape, and after about a year or so, the base should fill out a little more, giving the opposite shape of what's there just now. If you were to look at the hedge from the end, the shape you want is like an A with the top cut off. The sides should slope back in towards the top, with the base wider.
    That will also mean allowing the front edge of your hedge to grow out nearer the road edge, and that might be the reason they've been cut like that. Laurels naturally want to be very big, so it's better to keep them trimmed regularly to prevent that and get good coverage   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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