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Portugese Laurel Hedge

Hello - novice gardener here. I will shortly take delivery of bare root Portugese Laurel and would welcome any general advice but am particularly interested in initial pruning advice. From reading other threads the advice seems to prune the tops to achieve bushiness lower down in the plant. My hope for the eventual hedge was to create a fairly narrow screen along the 100 foot long boundary between myself and next-door neighbour. At the moment I have a mix of completely bare sections and some sections with well-established photonia, which I may replace with laurel over time, but for now I am only planting the bare sections. I do not need the hedge to be really bushy low down or to be particularly high as I am not overlooked. I am quite happy to see the lower foot or so of trunk, which I hope will make weeding etc under the hedge a little easier. I just need a mid-level screen between myself and my next-door neighbour.  How do I prune to achieve this?


  • Basic principle of pruning hedges is that if you cut out the tip of a shoot the side shoots near that tip are stimulated to grow more. I personally think severely cutting back these plants when first planted is a bit harsh and only give them a light formative pruning in the first year to get rid of any shoots that are going in a particularly strange direction. If you want the lower parts to be more bare them you could trim back some of the lower branches. If you want the hedge to be narrow then keeping the side branches regularly trimmed will help keep these sideways growing branches from making it too wide.
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