When should I prune my Laurel hedge?

benjilloyd(Cheshire, UK)May 17, 2005

We have a Laurel hedge that is growing like mad (this is its second season in the ground, bought in 2-3 ft in pots).

So far I simply cut off the tiny green branches when they go beyond where I want them to.

I don't do it to a particular schedule, just when I notice.

Is this wrong? Am I creating a rod for my back? Could I be doing any harm not pruning at the 'right time'?

Any help appreciated as always

cheers

ben

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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

You can prune whenever you want, with one proviso. Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurecerasus) is prone to cankers and the main way they catch them is through wounds that get infected mainly during late winter and early spring, but potentially during any wet weather. The RHS recommend pruning during the summer in dry weather.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 2:23PM
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benjilloyd(Cheshire, UK)

Cheers! You just told me what I wanted to hear :-)

It seems like the Laurel (and it is the Cherry that we have, although I'm sure that's obviously somehow) was the right choice. Fast growing, shad, sun, any soil. All true. Except for some exceptions.

But brilliant, I am really pleased. I must admit I am getting quite obsessed cutting it, turn your back and it's grown!

So, what on earth are cankers?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 2:31PM
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garden_nerd(UK Central)

Exactly what I was wondering. My unstoppable laurel went a bit funny last year - manky leaf problem. Would that be a result of canker?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 4:16PM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

Manky leaf problems are probably just powdery mildew. That causes distorted leaves but is not usually serious. The presence of white fuzz under the leaves indicates mildew. Bacterial cankers can also distort the leaves but will not have white fuzz because they aren't fungal. The leaves will develop lesions that eventually drop out to leave holes. If it infects the branches it can cause dieback. Infected branches should be removed.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 5:58AM
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peater

I have a laural hedge approaching 18-20ft high. Can i reduce the height to about 10ft without damaging the hedge.i know it will look unsightly for a while but will it thicken up again

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 6:07PM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

If it is the common English or Cherry Laurel, which it sounds like at that size, then you could cut it to ground level and not slow it down much ;)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 7:29PM
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FRANK McFETRIDGE

I HAVE A 6FT LAURAL HEDGE AROUND THE SIDE GARDEN BUT SINCE THE LAST COLC SPELL AT CHRISTMAS ALL HAS GONE BROWN NO LEAVES...NO NEW GROTH AS YET CAN YO ADVISE ME. THANKS.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 5:06AM
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Wobbert

We had a hard winter and the deer attacked my Laurel hedge. They devoured all the leaves off the lower branches and there are only leaves on the top where they were unable to reach. I don't know what to do to help leaves grow again on the lower branches. I was told by someone to cut them all the way down to the base and start over. Spring has just sprung in my area and they look awful. I planted them to screen from our neighbors but they are just plain ugly and I feel horrible because it took 6 years and they looked so good last summer. Help

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 12:00AM
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