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Laurel Hedges - Regret.

DitsyDitsy Posts: 196
I have recently planted a hedge and now realised it is going to be far too big for the space I have. I was given bad advice.

Do you think it will be possible to keep these laurels about 2ft wide and 4ft tall if I prune regularly or should I cut my loses and dig them up?  :/

Thank you.



  • I feel your pain, bless, it is so hard when you see these little plants to imagine them full size. I think a little box hedge would possibly be more appropriate, but if you are very strict with yourself, regular pruning and cutting might just do it. I might add, that I have just spent the last few weeks balanced precariously on the top of a ladder trying to 'tame' my laurels. Certainly not resting on them.   ;)
    "To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul." — Alfred Austin
  • DitsyDitsy Posts: 196
    Thank you D0rdogne. I did consider box but have seen so many dead locally that I didn't want to chance it. My gut is telling me to dig these up but it is such a waste of money and I kind of feel sorry for the plants. It's not their fault.

    I can imagine myself shrouded in laurel in a few years time.

  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,761
    The laurel hedges around us tend to be 6 feet wide and 8 feet tall so I understand your trepidation. They are tough plants though and you may be able to keep on top of the pruning to keep them small. Ilex crenata is a good alternative to box for smaller hedges.
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Posts: 3,992
    Ditsy said:
    I have recently planted a hedge and now realised it is going to be far too big for the space I have. I was given bad advice.
    Very bad advice indeed. Sorry, but IMHO the only sensible action to take now is to uproot those laurels and give them to your best friend enemy. ;)
    As replacement I suggest Ilex crenata (suggested by @steephill ), Euonymus japonicus, etc.
    These site pages might help:
    That is if you are intent on an evergreen smallish hedge effect. Have you considered flowering shrubs?
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • It's actually a reasonable solution and if you keep on top of the pruning (I'd think you'd need to spend a couple of hours no more than 2-3 times per year) it's doable. I spend about half an hour once or twice s year to shape my shrub.
    They key is your height and width actually means you'll see it as achievable. What sometimes happens is people leave it too long and it seems like a gargantuan task so they leave it longer ......
    There are other options with less management but then they grow slowly so you'd need more patience.
    Swings and roundabouts.
    Personally I like Beech for this sort of thing but again quite a slow grower.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,333
    edited March 2021
    I would dig them up and sell them on. You are just giving yourself an endless hedging battle by leaving them in. They will want to fill the pavement and the lawn and possibly eat the house.

    Very former owners of my house planted beech, pyracantha, lonicera, ivy and holly hedging around my front garden, which is not much bigger than yours and it's just too much, esp if you want to do anything else with the front. I have to do a serious hack every three months.

    Do you need any kind of hedge?
  • DitsyDitsy Posts: 196
    Thanks everyone.

    This need for a hedge started when I was walking through a new housing development. They planted some lovely evergreen hedges around the front gardens. Over the last couple of years I have watched theses fill out and grow into perfect easily maintainable hedges. Problem was I couldn't find out what they were called!

    Cut a long story short I eventually got told they are laurel. I did a brief search online and looked at some pics and thought yes that's them. Wrong!

    Of course all this was before I found this forum. 

    I will take some pics of the hedges and see if anyone knows what they are (I'm sure they will).

    Do you think anyone would buy my laurel plants if I was to advertise them?
  • I would definitely advertise them on Gumtree, though probably be prepared to accept less for them than you paid if you want a speedy sale.

    After that, in terms of a replacement, you don’t have a big space there. Ilex crenata seems very unpredictable in this country and is also quite expensive. In the east it seems to die slowly because of the drier conditions. If your area is too dry for it, what about lavender, for example? If that strikes the wrong note, alternatives could be Potentilla fruticosa or Sarcococca confusa. A slightly taller hedge could be made with Lonicera nitida or Osmanthus heterophyllus kept tightly clipped. They do get bigger but can be kept under better control.

    With almost any but the lower growing plants, however, you’ll need to be prepared for the fact that the grass inside will suffer from shade and competition from the hedge roots. You could consider turning it into a garden of shade loving plants, or fill it with one species that is good in shade or sun, like Geranium macrorrhizum?
  • newbie77newbie77 Posts: 1,784
    @Ditsy, I see you are in London. If you advertise on Facebook market place, there is a good chance someone would buy it. 
    South West London
  • DitsyDitsy Posts: 196
    @newbie77, I don't have Facebook unfortunately.

    Maybe I will try Gumtree, I have 20 in total. Still got 7 in pots!
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