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Help needed please with laurel hedge issues...

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  • steephillsteephill Posts: 1,404
    You could try taking one down to 1 foot then waiting to see if it sprouts new growth. If it does then repeat with the others. Take out the dead ones anyway.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 63,924
    I’ve seen a huge mature laurel hedge cut down to short stumps and it rejuvenated and within a few years it was a thick and smart hedge. 

    I would do exactly as @steephill has suggested. 

    My one additional suggestion is that the roots are in a potentially very dry area (a rain shadow created by the wall as well as being a narrow bed) and will need plenty of watering  (real soakings) in the spring and summer if it’s going to produce lots of lushness new growth. 

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







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    Hello, This is my first post to the forum so hello to all and thank you in advance for any help,

    I've come across this particular thread which has been so helpful and wow you guys helped befuddled.

    Background is that I'm a complete newby to gardening and planted some laurels in November all rootball in hessain. 

    Unfortunately i've had some issues with the laurels being disturbed (pulled out after planting, not by me) 

    About 4 weeks the green leaves just started falling off and i was befuddled why and how and then came across this thread which given been me confidence that i can get the Laurels back to a good screen/hedge.   

    So from this issue i understand that i need to cut them back but i have some particular questions which would really help me out.

    1. How much shall i cut them back e.g height?
    2. When is best to complete this - I was advised March?
    3. Do I also cut from the sides as well as the top?
    4. When cutting back is there a best secton of the laurel to aim for.

    I don't think the photos are in order but you will see one image of all the Laurels together and the left hand side seems to be fine it is the right hand side that appears to have suffered most from the shock of uprooting.  

    So  little unsure if i should just concentrate on one side only.  Its strange as it appears on some of the Laurels to be just a middle section but i suspect over the next few weeks more leafs will fall off.

    So much appreciated for any help.

    Thank you


  • WaysideWayside Posts: 773
    Purely anecdotal, but I've been mean to my Laurels.  One I had in the ground from a cutting for two years, it just got going and I dug it up.  Put it somewhere, then into a pot, then it got very dry, and lost all her leaves, then I made some effort to water.  And eventually all the leaves came back.  But some wood had died back - which I cut back.  Now she is a nice tidy potted shrub.  They look pretty good this time of year.  Mine did bleed a bit, so would be good to confirm the correct time for planting.   I've also heard people having a job to get rid of established trees, even when taking down to the ground.
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,141
    You have not planted them long, so they will need time to settle in. I recommend you prune them back to where the branches darken to almost black. It's roughly half back. They don't look too thick so cut back to areas where there are leaves. If you have stray branches that flop forward, you can also remove those. Wait till spring or late spring to avoid harsh frost getting to newly pruned branches. They hopefully will thicken up over the year.

    Leaves dropping can be due to stress, like wind and lack of water, or as you say something digging them up so the roots may be losing contact with the soil. It's essential you check they are planted in well and top dress with some bark chip mulch to keep moisture in and help keep the soil cool in summer.
  • Thank you Borderline  for the comments  Can i just check on a couple of items please.

    Prune them back to where the branches darken to almost black -  Remove any green stems on the laurels taking them back to the dark brown.

    They don't look too thick so cut back to areas where there are leaves  Some have leaves at the top and then some have no leaves at all now in this case should i just adopt the cut back to the dark brown stem areas only? Seems the majority of the plants might go back to about a foot height adopting this approach?

    Many thanks

  • trwtrw Posts: 2
    Hi all, I would also like some help please and the same as befuddled I’m not a gardener but so impressed with the advise and guidance given, and the fact the post follows through for the last 3/4 years, I spent a couple of hours last night reading through the 23 pages. 

    So I’ll try and keep it short and have taken some photos today,

    I moved in 2 years ago and have a corner plot, the front of the house I’m  generally happy with but not sure what I can do, it looks like something is have a feast at the front 
    happy with the height but up close the quality of the plant looks poor, should I treat or just put in some fish bones and blood fertiliser? 


    Then I come to the side of the property 

    Which has two issues the first half is very yellow compared to the rest, and the part by the garage is greener but up close is very bare 

    I don’t know if I should be concerned that they are to close to the garage or if they will be fine with that, I probably have 200/300mm space toward the path.

    where do I start? What should I do? 
    Thank in advance and I would also like to keep updating the progress. 
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,141
    edited 11 February
    Methodisplantitandsee, yes, when I say prune back to the dark branches, it really is pruned to the older wood. It looks drastic, but your plants may have been suffering with lack of watering at the early stage of planting. It's very unlikely it will rejuvenate. The idea is to take the stress out of the plant. Right now, all it's doing is hanging on and creating spindly weak stems from the top. Even if there are some healthy looking leaves, they will still look sparse. The aim is a more bushy close knit bush.

    TRW, your shrubs are very established and most likely suffering from shot hole infection, and not likely to cause major harm to the shrubs. Sometimes, dampness within the bush or areas where it is planted densely against a wall can cause it more, but again, on an establish bush, new growth will take over soon, and with that and pruning, your shrubs should recover.

    If you have more yellow leaves, it could be compacted soil, so check the soil in those areas. Drive a garden fork down the soil to loosen the soil, and top-dress with compost or bark chip mulch.
  • trwtrw Posts: 2
    Thanks Borderline I will get that done, when is the best time to start doing all this, just concern and I don’t know if I should be with all the frost and cold weather? 

    Also with the bushes in front of the wall 
    where you can see a lot of the stems, do I leave these and will they recover if I sort out the ground add some fish bones fertiliser and replace all the bark. Or should I look at cutting them back? 
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,141
    I would wait until it gets warmer from spring onwards. The ones against the wall should also start growing soon. Feeding and replacing or top dressing more bark mulch will be ideal. They may not thrive as much there. The roots may be restricted due to the wall and the narrow bed. 
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