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Design Pruning a P Laurel

UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 1,704
I'd appreciate some ideas on a design for these two Portuguese Laurels to bring interest to this area at the side of where I park the car please. 

I bought them, in a sorry state, as 99p chuck outs from Tesco and thought that if they survived I'd train them into an archway. However, I think that's over ambitious and would need too much attention through the year. 

They are multi stemmed, about half a dozen per shrub, about 3 ft high but willing to let it grow higher. The only ideas I can come up with are lifting the crowns unequally on each one and then pruning each stem individually or cutting all stems out except one and then lifting the crown until the desired high is reached.

What are your thoughts please? Close up and distant pics enclosed.



  • zugeniezugenie Posts: 503
    Can you cloud prune laurel? Because that would be pretty cool!!
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,185
    @uff I think what you have suggested is the best idea. If you raise the crown unevenly underneath to give a wavy look [ for want of a better word] it would work with your natural surroundings. I have lifted the crown on a Portuguese laurel and planted underneath. Just a case of standing back and checking as you go.
     P laurel likes to grow outwards too, so yes an arch sounds like a lot of work. As you know not that pretty when pruned which you would need to do to keep the shape with an arch.
  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 1,704
    Thanks both. The only other thing that I can think of is topiary into a ball or cone shape but again that's a fair old degree of commitment. Wish I hadn't planted the flipping things now.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,185
    @Uff I think if you lift the crown you will be far happier with them. You also can plant underneath which will make them more interesting .All the other plants are soft so they would make a strong statement. I have seen them' lollipoped' but the leaves would be smaller with continuous pruning, not sure you would get such a tight shape with bigger leaves.
  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 1,704
    Thanks @GardenerSuze
    Well, I guess I can try the left hand one and see how I feel about it, go softly, stand back etc. The hebe next to the hellebore is down for a chop too, far too leggy. There's a lovely white azalea at the back of it. 
    Weather permitting I'll start tomorrow and post the results. 
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,185
    @Uff I scrambled into the middle of mine before I started just to see what to keep and work out the shape. Eye protection required for doing this I think. This sort of job must be a bit like being a hairdresser, knowing which bit to cut off!
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,022
    I lifted the crowns of two Portuguese laurels and them pruned them into pyramids - I think that offended them as they promptly suffered from powdery mildew!  I actually like the shape of your current shrubs @Uff.  They look natural.  I'd maybe prune them gently into slightly flattened domes to make maintenance more practical.  Raising the crown will remove seclusion from your sitting area and you'll notice their leaf drop more!
  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 1,704
    Thanks both. I'll shove my head in the middle before I do anything and might even report back before I pick up the secateurs.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,022
    This is the sort of shape I had in mind @Uff, a bit like a fruit pastille!

    See the source image
    Here's a version with a lifted crown: 😒

    See the source image
  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 1,704
    Now then I like the top ones very much and mine could be made into a smaller version. Just taken the pic of the back view of them. As you can see the right hand one is in better condition because it's sheltered from the SW wind by the car.  The left hand one actually needs a stake in to hold it more upright, it's a bit loose round its roots. 

    If I went for that design and didn't like it then I could still lift the crown and change it. I'll look at it again in the morning and then decide. Thanks for that Plantminded.

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