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Laurel planting location advice

Good evening. Just after a little advice regarding cherry laurel planting.

Last week Storm Dennis took out a few of the fence posts at the back of the garden. The fence is the responsibility of the bungalow behind us and I didn't want to trouble the very elderly residents. 

I've inserted some support posts which has done the trick, already for 5 years or so I hope and I wish to plant some laurel hedging in front of the fence to form my boundary. If the fence goes then, all is well anyway. 

My question is how close to the fence can I plant them?  I'm thinking they'll be 3 foot plants. I want them as close as possible to get good growth, so as not to encroach on the rest of my garden as much. 

Also, how narrow is it possible to grow the depth of the hedge, while still having a nice thick hedge?

Thanks in advance



  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,907
    It's hard to keep laurel narrow in depth. They spread in each direction very quickly once established. You can plant them near the fence, and the fence will stop them growing in that direction, but you'll need to keep them in check with regular pruning/trimming if you want the hedge small.
    They naturally want to be huge, and they need a lot of attention if you want to keep them at a smaller depth, otherwise they will grow wide and dense, and if you then cut them back, you have a lot of hefty trunks showing. The only solution at that point is to hack them right back to the ankles and start again.

    Did you mean you wanted it to be only three feet, or you want to buy three foot plants?
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks for the advice. I'm hoping to buy 3 foot high plants. 

    I've just discovered a small brick wall under ground. Likely an old boundary before the bungalows were built. Essentially I've got the fence, then 40 cm to the single brick wall, then the rest of my garden. 

    is there issue in planting them between fence and brick? But right up to the brick?
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,360
    Laurel grows huge and shouldn't be cut with a hedgecutter as the leaves aren't pretty when cut in two. They will need regular cutting to keep them in check. Will you be able to do that at the back, between them and the boundary fence? I don't think 40cms between the fence and the brick is nearly enough space, either for the roots or the growth of the hedge. You probably need to plant them around a metre from the fence to give room for you with the secateurs behing and so as not to bother the neighbours and then they will grow widthways into your garden too. Fine if you have a big garden.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,907
    You don't need to get in behind them to cut them - the fence will stop the growth.
    Unless it's a gappy fence, and then you'd need room, or permission from the neighbour to cut their side if they don't want to do it. 
    They can be cut with hedgetrimmers - you just have to go over them and remove any cut foliage which dies off. 
    Assuming they have access to ground below the confines of the wall, and you water appropriately when planting, they'll get their roots down no problem. If you mean that wall will contain them, then no - you'll have to think of an alternative.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 10,482
    I think yew might be a better choice as it can be kept quite narrow and to the height you need and only needs cutting once a year. I understand it grow quicker than most people think, about 6" per year. You could buy 1" or 2" high plants as well to give you a head start.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,360
    edited February 2020
    @Fairygirl the laurels in OH's Norfolk cottage garden had grown way higher than the fence and were being a nuisance in the neighbour's garden, getting in the way of her clothes dryer. We've had one removed and the other has had a severe haircut. Neighbour is very pleased.

    They were already there when he bought the cottage.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,544
    I agree with Lizzie.  Yew will be a much better choice.   Laurels are a thug.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 3,701
    @mattgarden please reconsider your choice before you regret it. There are so many hedge plants nicer and easier to maintain than laurels!
    Papi Jo, a member of the anti-laurel brigade.  ;)
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • Papi Jo said:
    @mattgarden please reconsider your choice before you regret it. There are so many hedge plants nicer and easier to maintain than laurels!
    Papi Jo, a member of the anti-laurel brigade.  ;)
    I don't understand. There are so many lovely gardens near me, with lovely bright green laurel hedges. Why would they have them if they are such beasts? And why does everyone look so well looked after if they are such terrors to maintain?
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,360
    Because their owners are very good at keeping them under control. Depends how much time and effort you want to dedicate.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
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