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Help needed please with laurel hedge issues...



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  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 66,180

    Ned, I would cut that back by about one third in height in the spring to encourage it to thicken up. image

    Then cut back all side shoots by one third as well.

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 66,180

    Ah!  Just realised - you've already done it - that was an old photo and now I've seen your other thread - ignore the above post. 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Ah yes very good advice guys thanks ... Yes need a good thick hedge as only have a short 3.5ft fence separating me from neighbours... hopefully it will grow to 6ft soon enough and Incan keep it there... Roll on spring and I will give another cut ....

    cheers Nd enjoy sunshine! 

  • Hi, everyone ?

    I'll jump on board, too ?

    Here is the problem:


    That's the other side of the driveway, where they are considerably better, but getting paler and yellowish.


    These (grown ones) were all planted around 2000, when the development was built, note the difference in thickness and colour on our side compared to the neighbour's across the road (Not to mention the monster laurels in the background).

    The problem are those feeble ones in the first picture, now planted for around 4 years. We've bought the house a year ago (when they were even worse), and were told that the problem was limescale poisoning from a leaking water meter (?), that's why they've removed the original laurels and planted these, that have never really taken. The water meter has been since replaced (twice). The second explanation was that they were/are water-logged (we have an irrigation system, but have only actually used the laurel hedge part a couple of times during last summer). The soil here is not of great quality, lots of sandy building debris, with clay layers, very compacted... however, they planted the laurels in quality compost, I feed it (blood, fish, bone, Miracle Gro), it's mulched in spring... 

    There are some areas that are doing better than others (for no apparent reason). I've measured soil pH (because of the said alkalinity), but it's well into acidic range, differing quite a lot along the hedge (from 6.9 to just below 6). I've applied some sequestered iron to some of them (experimenting, just a week ago, so no results yet), given some specialised cherry laurel fertiliser to a half... 

    Last summer I've trimmed the tops off (scraggly, less than a foot, they're supposed to be kept at the same height as all the neighbours' ones). This condition now is the best they have ever been the gardener and the neighbours tell me.

    in the back garden we have conifer hedging, around six metres tall and happily growing (apart from a bit under a holm oak, which has a TPO, so that's a question for another time), other shrubs, tress, lawn seem to be doing ok without much work/interference. 

    So, any advice would be much appreciated. Are these ever going to grow? I'm sorry about the length, but I'm at the end of my wits, have very little gardening experience/knowledge, and don't want to kill them off...

    Thank you!

    Last edited: 25 February 2017 09:44:34

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520

    The ones in the first pic are planted very close together....

    However, I would mulch with well rotted manure or compost, and give them a seaweed foliar feed later in the year. Epsom salts in a liquid feed is also useful, but I'd leave them alone for now and wait till summer to do anything else. Applying lots of stuff at this time of year is a bit pointless anyway, as it will tend to get washed out, and the plants aren't really growing properly yet.

    It's easy to think giving them more of something is better, but as with many things, it isn't a question of lots, it's more about giving them the right things. Feeding the soil well is the best way to get anything to grow well. Even if they were planted using decent compost at the time, they have to grow into the surrounding soil, and if it's  poor, they won't grow so well, that's why prep is the most important thing when planting anything. You'll probably have to use a foliar feed for a few years, but adding goodness to the soil will help over time. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thank you!! ?

    I have composted bark and composted horse manure ready -which one should I use? Or a mixture of both? And should I do this now or wait a bit? And no feeding in spring at all?

    All the neighbours' laurel hedges are dark and thick (including the one on the other side of the road), without them feeding them or any care but trimming.

    Thank you!!

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520

    They're pretty straightforward shrubs. I wouldn't bother feeding as they've had quite a lot of stuff already. If you wait a month and give them a general feed then - not too much, something like a sprinkle of Blood, Fish and Bone  - and then mulch with the manure, that should be plenty. Make sure they've been well watered ( not usually a problem at the end of winter ) before applying the manure mulch. That'll help them retain moisture and will feed the soil. It's something you could do in spring and autumn.

    Then let them grow away. See how they are in a few months, and if they still look a bit pale, do a foliar feed then. image

    You can add the bark as well on top if you want, but  I'd  keep that for a later date as a mulch, or use it elsewhere in the garden for now.  

    Pruning helps them thicken up, so carry on keeping them trimmed as you've been doing. They naturally want to grow big and wide, so it can be an issue trying to keep them as a narrow hedge. Better to keep them tidied up a little, regularly, instead of letting them get big and then having to hack them back. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thank you!! - will leave them for a month, then feed and mulch with manure. Will report back, how it goes. Thank you Fairygirl ??

  • We planted small Laurals last October and would like to know what the best feed would be for them to grow quicker.

    We have put wire mesh around them due to the monk jacks eating them, will this harm the?

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