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New Laurel Hedge

Hello, I’m wondering if anyone can offer any tips on next steps to encourage my newly planted Laurel to begin bushing out to form a hedge? It was planted in autumn 2021 and hasn’t been touched / pruned / fed since. I’ve read some threads about cutting back to encourage new growth lower down, but am not sure how aggressive the cutting should be? The plants are currently approx 3ft high. Many thanks 


  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,658
    They look good, plenty of branching from the base so they probably don't need much pruning at this stage. Maybe just shorten the longer branches.
    Make sure you keep them watered - it's been dry here for about 3 or 4 weeks and no rain in the forecast for the next two, so if it's the same for you they'll need watering. A good deep watering once or twice a week depending on how hot it gets is better than a sprinkle every day - you want to encourage the roots to go deep.
    If the ground was prepared well they probably don't need feeding but a mulch of organic matter will feed the soil slowly and help to keep down weeds.
    And if you're putting down a lawn there, don't take it right up to the base of the laurels - leave them about the same clear space as there is on the side closest to the camera.
  • Thank you JennyJ, so just a few inches cut off the longest branches? And would a sprinkle
    of blood fish and bone be suitable as a feed? 

    The bare soil is my neighbours side, they are planning to lay lawn seed over the coming weeks so will share the tip on leaving a clear space (this is a shared new boundary hedge). 
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,658
    A light sprinkle of BFB won't hurt. Don't go mad though, I think people tend to over-feed plants rather than under feed.
    Your neighbour's new lawn will probably look best if they sow the seed to roughly where the lawn will end and then cut a nice straight edge later in the year when the grass is growing well and the roots have knitted together. And do mention to them to keep on top of any weeds that appear in the hedge base area as well.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,932
    I'd agree with @JennyJ. A bit of BF&B is fine, but if the soil is decent, they don't need any food. Water and a mulch is ideal.   :)
    They're only establishing, and won't grow a huge amount this year. A light trim is fine, and then they'll get going properly by this time next year. 

    If the neighbour is sowing seed rather than laying turf, it's worth putting a basic edging in. Much easier to manage. A good space on their side too. Laurels get very big and wide if not kept under control   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thank you both for your helpful input. When you say to apply a mulch, are we talking just a basic bark mulch? We are newbie gardeners here and it all requires quite a lot of thought! 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,932
    Bark is ideal for laurel, but home made compost or similar is also ideal. It just helps retain the moisture and keep weeds at bay. It also breaks down and helps with the soil condition, and gives you something to stand on for trimming and future maintenance. You wouldn't need a huge amount in future years - just enough to freshen it up.     :)

    You've done a good job so far with the hedge  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,658
    Anything organic mulch will help to keep moisture in and deter weeds, and will gradually feed the soil.  Shredded bark, well-rotted manure, the stuff labelled "soil improver" at the garden centre (probably composted green waste a bit like garden compost), that sort of thing. Personally I don't like the coarse bark but that's just my preference.
  • Oh great, in which case we can simply apply some compost from our own compost bin. A little task for the weekend. Thanks both. 
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