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Laurel Hedging Pruning

Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,145
I know there was a long thread on laurel hedging care and pruning but I'll be darned if I can find it! Anyway, a pretty straightforward question for you knowledgeable guys please. We have just last week moved into our cottage in the country. The rear garden fence lines have very healthy looking laurel hedges planted but they look like they could do with a prune.

The fence is c2M tall and I think I would like the final hedging height to be at say 2.5m or so. Some of the laurels are already taller than this as you can see. I recall seeing recommendations to be quite aggressive with pruning to encourage thickening(?). So what would you guys suggest? Take all plants down to the height of the fence and let them go again from there? Or more off? Any feeding required? Any time better than others to do this task?

Thanks all.


  • PerkiPerki Posts: 2,490
    edited January 2021
    They look like they been well looked after in the past well the sides do, a bit of layering if possible will fix the gaps low down . I cut them off at fence height .
  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,145
    Thanks @Perki, excuse my ignorance but can you elaborate on 'layering'?  :)
  • PerkiPerki Posts: 2,490
    You bring a branch down to the ground and pin it down using a stone / peg. laurel normally make roots without even having to scratch the bark underneath to promote root development.  

  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,145
    Thanks so much @Perki. Would it be ok to do the pruning and layering now or should I wait? If now, do I need to avoid any particular conditions ie imminent frost? 
  • PerkiPerki Posts: 2,490
    I'd just go for it if it was me cause I am impatient and Laurels are almost indestructible  but no harm in waiting till the weather improves 
  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    As perki says they look healthy and pruning to fence height would look neater. If you reduce the height of a shrub it thickens up, if you trim the sides they grow taller. They are best trimmed with secateurs rather than hedge trimmers.
    Not sure why you need them with a fence and the trees .
    Personally I would take them all out as they grow very bushy and will fill that bed and take a lot of moisture from the trees . Fence can then support climbers - clematis and roses.
    On the tree theme they will grow far faster if you clear the grass from around the trunks apologies if you have already tidied them. 🙄
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,836

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,145
    Thanks @K67. We only moved in Friday although I did manage to get the lawn trimmed and leaves picked up. Lots of work to do in the garden including clearing the lawn around some of the trees as you highlighted. Hear what you are saying about the Laurel and fence combo. Will give that some thought in due course. For now I need to get back in the house and unpack more boxes! 🥴

    Thanks @Dovefromabove. That’s the one. 
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