Planting a English Laurel Hedge

gteyeMay 13, 2006

Hi,

We just had a 6' fence installed and the back of the fence is by a road.

The property is on a slope and the back of the fence is next to a road. We'd like to plant the hedge next to the fence so that it will grow taller than the fence eventually creating a screen.

This is our first time doing this so I wanted to ask some advice.

How far apart should we plant them?

Since it's being planted by a fence, do I need to leave room between the fence and he hedge in order to prune the back or will the fence being there be enough to take care of the back? If I need to leave room, how far away would you suggest planting them from the fence?

I've seen some people mention digging a trench as opposed to just holes in the ground, is this a better method?

Thank you for any help you can offer,

Marc

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annzgw

We have a Laurel hedge that is between us and the main road and this will be their 2nd summer.

Our shrubs were 4-5' B&B and we wanted quick coverge so we planted them about 6 ft apart.
Are you planting the dwarf or the 'normal' English Laurel...........also, how tall are you wanting the hedge to be?

From what I've seen locally of mature Laurel, I would worry that if left untended they could overtake or push over your fence. I would leave several feet between them and the fence.

We have the open space to grow English Laurel and we really want a barrier between us and the road, but I often worry about how large this hedge will get!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2006 at 10:52PM
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larry_gene

I've seen English laurel hedges that look good at 5 or 6 feed wide if regularly pruned, yet most still crowd the sidewalk.

A lot depends on if you care how the hedge looks like from the road side and whether the fence is solid or transparent.

If you want the hedge to get really tall and look nice from the road, plant at least 5 feet inside the fence.

The trench makes sense only with power equipment.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 1:43AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I wouldn't plant this coarse-textured (big-leaved) pest species (popping up frequently in gardens and undeveloped lots), rather I would plant something that doesn't seed out so much and has a small leaf that makes a better backdrop, and tighter surface when sheared. If you are going to shear you can even use conifers, although only the overplanted, overwhelming Leyland cypress is fast enough to be economical and satisfying for general purposes. (Those willing and able to wait for yew will have the classic sheared hedge--eventually).

English laurel becomes a tree, when permitted. One at the Seattle center flag pavilion is over 30 feet high and wide. Another, belonging to the bigleaf cultivar 'Magnoliaefolia' was over 60 feet across at one point--before it was removed from the Seattle arboretum.

"In its garden range, this is a common hedge plant. But the planting of an English Laurel hedge is an act of aggression against one's neighbor--against oneself as well. It is the fightingest of hedges, pushing outward and upward as soon as you turn your back. English Laurel is one of the greatest goads to giving up on the yard and moving into an apartment--in a very real sense, this shrub is a real estate agent." - Schenk, COMPLETE SHADE GARDENER (Houghton Mifflin)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 9:41PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I agree with bboy. When we ripped out the hedge across the back of our house when we bought it, it was over eight feet wide and fifteen feet tall and I pulled up sprouts for a long time as did the neighbors. They also look horrid right when sheared because the leaves get all torn up. Unless you have a ton of space and really want a really tall and wide high maintenance hedge, don't plant English Laurel.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 11:54AM
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gteye

The biggest issue is that we'd like to have something that within a few years would be above fence level. The property slopes down starting right at the road so the fence line is actually below the road line. Due to this any pickups, larger cars, suv's are able to see right over the fence and down into our yard and that's the main reason we're wanting to plant something that will turn into a screen of some sort.

The main thing is we'd like it to grow relatively quickly and be a feasible screen within a few years of a height of 7-8'.

I am completely new to all of this so if anyone has any suggestions to a less invasive plant/tree that would accomplish a nice thick screen that would also help block out road noise, I am all ears :).

Many of the hedges I have researched have sounded like they take a very long time to grow tall and that's the main reason the laurel's caught my eye.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 3:18AM
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sam_wa(7b/8a)

Hmm.. maybe Osmanthus x burkwoodii?

Viburnum tinus

Myrica californica

Those would all grow taller than 7-8' but could be easily kept at that height with some pruning. I think trying to keep English Laurel 7-8' would be a not very fun, constant battle.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 11:24AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

You always have this problem with planting in general, not just hedges. Selections that produce quick effect are likely to be comparatively coarse, rank or overwhelming (large-growing). Unless willing to grapple with monsters (or have a suitable setting for a big plant) you often have to split the difference between immediate gratification and long term satisfaction, choose moderate growing plants and wait awhile for them to get up to size.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 11:59AM
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nwnatural(zone 8 PNW)

Hmmm, I have an English Laurel hedge that is about 30 years old. I do a heavy trim about 2 times a year (early summer and then fall). I never have torn up leaves, mine have never gone to seed or invaded any of my neighbors. I have cut some all the way back to the stumps and even set one on fire (accident) and the Laurel came back just as lush and fast growing as ever. I never water the hedge or fertilize. It is generally, an easy care shrub and I love the way they add a backdrop to my garden beds and I love to watch the birds using the hedge for a quick shelter.

The cons, Laurel is very susceptible to shot hole fungus, which leaves tiny holes throughout the leaves. For me, this is not a problem since I'm willing to live with Mother Natures imperfections and I can only see the damage when I'm right up close (and It still doesn't bother me).

I would plant them 6-8 feeet apart (depending on how fast you want them to grow together) and 6-8 from the fence.

They may be overused, they maybe out of fashion, but they will give you quick growth with fairly low maintenance. I'm a fan!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 10:54PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Operative statement "I do a heavy trim about 2 times a year."

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 3:44PM
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nwnatural(zone 8 PNW)

That's right bboy, 2 times a year I actually spend time maintaining this hedge, the rest of the year I ignore it. Like I said "LOW MAINTENANCE!"

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 10:31PM
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JAYK(8b)

A true low maintenance hedge would only require a minor pruning every year or two. It's good that you like your hedge, but I'm with bboy on this. Those contemplating planting English laurel should know what they are getting in for. These are massive plants by nature, and for most sites are poor picks compared to dozens of other choices for hedging.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 12:09AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

How about adding a two foot section of lattice across the top of the fence and planting some vines on trellises up and across?

I'm doing that in my back yard. Or, actually, my DH is. I design, I don't build. One Clematis is already almost to the top of the six foot fence and I pruned it hard when I planted it.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 5:38PM
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Ratherbgardening(PNW 7 or 8)

I have shipka laurels for a hedge. I like the looks of them much better than the English L. I haven't had any seedlings from them in the 4 or 5 years I've had them.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 12:27PM
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jasson(z8 Vanc BC Can)

english laurel makes an incredible hedge. i would liken it to having a wall for your garden. it's very beautiful and I think would do great for creating privacy for your yard. as for maintaining it, it doesn't matter what you use for a hedge, hedges should be pruned twice a year -spring and fall - english laurel is no different than any other hedge. It's really tough - every few years, you can cut it almost to the ground and it will spring back as healthy as ever. a good choice to keep the outside world from looking into your yard.
I've never known english laurel to be invasive or to spread seedlings. there is a variant "otto luyken" that can have berries that will eventually seed and produce seedlings, but it is not known to be invasive.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 3:26PM
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JAYK(8b)

English laurel is being found in many natural areas in the NW, and is being spread by seed. It can grow is very limited light, and quickly shades out native understory.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wash NPS

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 11:59PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I'll bet most of the English Laurel trimmings end up in a landfill. Very few people compost them. Some people will put them in the recycle bins I'm sure, but usually there is more than the bins will hold for one pick-up.
I have seedlings popping up all the time in my woods and garden and I don't have a Laurel hedge and neither do my neighbors. I do have some Portuguese Laurel and I have seedlings of that popping up all over too, now that it is producing seed. Bboy warned me about that some time ago. I may have to cut it down.

Could you use some variety of Japanese Holly?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 1:49PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

A spend a bit of time unloading garden debris from my truck at transfer stations. Three items that I see being brought and dumped by other gardeners in large amounts are

1. Ivy

2. Holly

3. Laurel

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 11:09PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

4. Flowering Plum

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 4:47AM
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scarlettmx5(z8 WA Smky Pt)

Is it possible to add height via a berm or small retaining wall? I've seen camellia used as hedges, but don't know how feasible that really is....

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 1:44PM
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gardengal48

Lots of shrubs will grow tall enough in a relatively short time to work for your purposes. For the reasons listed above, I too would avoid laurels. Personally, I prefer a more natural, untrimmed look, but Viburnum tinus 'Robustissimum', Choisya ternata, Ceanothus 'Victoria', even Myrica californica call all be "hedged".

Hedging or shearing into a formalized shape does take a lot of maintenance and fast growing plants can easily get out of control. And, the larger the leaf, the less attractive the plant looks immediately after shearing.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 9:51AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Spellcheck: Viburnun tinus 'Robustum'.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 1:59PM
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weebus(Z8 Sunset 5 WA)

Western Red Cedar make nice formal hedges with fine foliage and they are fast growers and native.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 12:20AM
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paffl

So if one's English laurel hedge is badly overgrown, 16' high and 10' deep, what's the best way to get it back to being a hedge about 6' high and 3' deep? Cut it all back to 6' at once, or only half the depth? Or is it better to cut it back to the ground?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 2:14AM
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nwnatural(zone 8 PNW)

Cut it all the way to the ground. It'll be 6' in 2 years.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 1:26PM
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cascadians

We planted 2 nice 5' healthy English Laurels, but they've turned quite yellow and dropped most of their leaves. The neighbor planted 2 rows alternating, which they grew from cuttings -- those are 2' and also yellowing and dropping leaves. Why is this?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 10:19PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Probably a nitrogen deficiency. Fertilizing with appropriate formulation would probably help quite a bit, as would mulching, watering during dry spells etc. However, this tubby-looking, ubiquitous-to-the-point-of-boredom tree should really be taken off the local market at this point - there are far too many of them popping up in the woods and just about anywhere else there isn't a mall or condos. And some of them come up there, too, actually - anyplace a bird may have flown over some soil, I suppose.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 10:54PM
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cascadians

Thanks bboy :-)
Personally, I love the glossy bright green exuberance of English Laurel, and think it makes a good tree. I haven't seen any "volunteers" around here. Ppl's hedges do look better trimmed, but it doesn't seem like much effort to expend, pruning 2x per year, for such a thick beautiful robust hedge. Some things are worth a day's time and effort!

There used to be more English Laurel hedges in this area. The old guard, the upper crust in the west hills, used to plant them extensively.

One of the most beautiful hedges I've ever seen was a western red cedar hedge, grown thick and luxuriant and trimmed well, at the Palatine Hill Convent. That would grow quickly and afford privacy.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 1:30AM
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tonypumpkin

Plant an English Laurel you say?

I have done battle with this "beast of a shrub" (English Laurel) and lived to tell about it--hardly. It is a monster among monster species. I have an 80 foot long section at the back of my lot, it is about 10 feet wide and 30 feet tall. Whoever said this was a hedge is wrong, it is a tree made of iron, like Medusas head of snakesÂsurviving anything, everything. The stumps on my "hedge" (many of them) are almost as thick as my waist. Sometimes I think about pulling this "hedge" out, but then I ask myself, how does one simply "yank" a grove of oaks or maples??? I canÂt imagine what machine would be capable of such a feat, what poison could suppress this marvel of natureÂand my back yard is inaccessible to power machinery. Perhaps a jackhammer with an axe could do it, or how about that muscular green Hulk with his temper? Not likely. . .my "hedge" is supernatural.

When I first moved into my house the laurel was about 30 feet tallÂan omen. Time for a trim, I thought. I felt manly as I climbed the individual stalks--thatÂs right, I was able to climb them to 12 feet high inside the plantÂlike people climb treesÂbut this is just a "hedge" right? I sawed by hand at anything, and everythingÂeven breaking some branches with my hands, or feetÂin short, I did battle with this beast. But a hand-saw was nothingÂit broke quickly. I bought a 12 inch chainsaw and pulled a hundred foot extension cord. I sawed for 4 days, trimming the top 10 feet offÂsevering the head of this "beast"Âor so I thought (I nearly cut my neck three times with the chainsaw, and almost tumbled 12 feet onto my head--twice). When I was finished I had a pile of debris that took 3 people 1 entire day to haul out and disposeÂbut the hedge was beautiful and the ultimate barrier for privacy. . . at least for now.

That was two years ago. It is now almost as tall as it was, and I am weary and weak, and (at 35 years of age) just unable to risk the injury of battle again. Now I walk about the yard and eye it from afar, worried at itÂs recent advancement--small "baby laurel beasts" popping up from roots that are near the surface 4 feet away--just like that other "friendly plant"does--bamboo.

I was bested by the English Laurel, I am determined to let it grow as nature intended, but I am worried, worried that this battle has only just begun.

Plant an English Laurel you say?!?!!!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 11:53AM
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rainnshowers(z8 OR)

Hey Tonypumkin,
You made me ROFL so hard! I have a laurel hedge, too. I worried about it, too - sometime. And I am small size (98 lbs). It gets axed each time it trespasses the 4ft height. So afraid that it will get out of control. It is truly the "beast of a shrub" Love your message....... I enjoyed it very much!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 3:00PM
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filigree_2008

I am wondering if I have a laurel hedge, it is dark green waxy leaves, the branches are flexible and some grow on the ground and some grow upright. In July it gets tiny white flowers in bunches scattered about the bush and the flies swarm and rest on it, making it impossible to go near or to touch or trim. Just when the flowers are in bloom, it this an English Laurel.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 10:14PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Probably not, if your flower description in particular is fully representative. But search the internet for photos and descriptions of Prunus laurocerasus. You'll soon be able to tell.

Somebody at a nearby garden center may be able to identify a representative specimen or a good picture. Or you might look around a bit and find they have it for sale.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 10:22PM
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muddydogs

Definitely dig a trench. It's great exercise for the abs.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 3:07AM
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cascadians

In my yard and the next it seems it's taken a couple years for the English Laurel to "take." It was scrawny and yellow and dropping so many leaves the 1st 2 years. Now, however, it's very green and happy and growing. Will be pruning it for 1st time next spring. It's next to a 'dwarf' one that is also doing better after struggling to establish. On both side are Nellie R Stevens hollies, doing well, growing and with nice red berries in winter. And around those are lots of leylands, LOL -- and yes there's ivy nearby! I didn't plant the ivy and it doesn't seem to be spreading much.

With over 300 trees in a not-so-big yard pruning will be the order of the day. I want the laurels to grow to tree height and trunk thickness but will prune them along the way to keep width in bounds. It is right next to our compost pile and worm bin so eventually its roots will tap into awesome fertilizer.

Planted all sorts of vines and trees to try to get a natural barrier around my house for privacy and noise reduction and screening out the ugliness all around of ppl who don't care about their yards or plants at all.

I'm a newbie gardener, started Dec05, and the more I work outdoors, the more I like it. Learning a lot as I go and have benefitted tremendously from GardenWeb forums.

One thing to keep in mind -- if you prep your planting area well, turning the soil in a bare area and digging the trench and holes and composting and if necessary at first buying a bunch of 4-way blend topsoil, and putting a slightly bermed well around each plant -- these preps pay off big-time in the long run and are well worth the effort.

Be sure to water regularly and deeply the 1st 3 years so the plant can establish its root system enough to become more independent. It doesn't rain much anymore in Oregon from mid spring to fall.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 11:12AM
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madhatten

Hi all and hi to Marc who started this thread.
Marc I want the Laurels for the same reason as you: privacy and hopefully a noise buffer. I have heard that they are good for pollution absorption too.
I have a few questions I would like you guys to answer for me?
1)How old are these 30ft Laurels some of you have?
2)How many years does it take until you regret planting them and they are 20ft tall and 10ft wide?
3)How much can I expect them to grow when they are so young (2ft high at the moment)?
I have a few of them and I am glad I read the articles above. I can see that I need to replant the ones I have planted another two feet from the fence.
Email me at yesright@Hotmail.com

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 4:49PM
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sipping_tea

Well, tonypumpkin's post really made me laugh. We too have ourselves a massive laurel hedge. It measures roughly 10' wide and about 20' tall. And yes, some of the trunks/stumps are as much as a full foot or more in diameter. This hedge came with the house we purchased in the fall of last year. We would, at some point, like to remove it, because that's another 10' of property we could really use.

We live on a corner lot and this hedge is on the side we share with our neighbour. We expressed our desire to find a way to get the hedge out of there, and our neighbour was thrilled, as it is encroaching on their property as well.

There's a laurel hedge on the other side of the property as well, but it's spotty, not solid like the other side.

Either way, we'd like to be laurel-free all around! A fence is a viable option on the side we share with our neighbour, but a fence on the street side will only mean trouble. We have A LOT of problems with kids "tagging" the fences, and with the size of our lot (a little over a quarter acre) that big long fence would be akin to a massive gas-station-bathroom wall. No thank you!

And so, we too are trying to come up with options. And like Marc who originated this post, the street and sidewalk alongside us are higher than our property, and we're looking to make things a good deal more private. My hubby has said we should plant Emerald Green Cedars. I don't know enough about them to know if this would be a good option. So, I too am all ears for suggestions.

Thanks for all the posts. Good to have people to commiserate with.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 8:40PM
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harkshome_comcast_net

I am a guy who is clueless with plants. My neighbor has a 100 foot easement for his driveway that goes down the side of our property. We have had Arborvitaes separating our properties and they have fallen and needed to be replaced twice due to snow and ice over the years. The depth of the planter is about 4 ft and I would like a solid hedge at least 6 feet tall for privacy. So here is the question: what plant will make the best hedge here in the Portland area?

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 2:20PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Check out Pacific wax myrtle.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 6:53PM
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boizeau(7a)

Don't do it.
You will grow to hate that thing.
They will easily go over 25 feet tall, and the cost of having them trimmed will amaze you. A crew of 4 guys and with ladders will spend hours trimming it every year, and they will charge accordingly, 'most landscape gardeners hate them'. It is not fun work.
There are any number of superior privacy screen plants. I would go with Pyrimidalis long before I'd plant English Laurel.
Also the Laurels tend to create a lot of seedlings and will try to spread.
As an individual tree, it is not half bad in the yard as a specimen evergreen, but too rampant for a hedge.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 8:07PM
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elisecreature

I am very well aware of the drawbacks of prunus laurocerasus, the monsterous growth habit, and it's invasiveness. I do not want to plant a hedge plant that is on the noxious list of the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon in which I live. SO I NEED HELP. I have not found a suitable alternative for my needs: dense hegde of 8-12 feet for blocking sound and sight of adjacent road; all light conditions: sun, partial shade and full shade; and evergreen. Please Help.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 3:58PM
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wildwood_13

My neighbor had a tall English Laurel hedge that gave us: privacy between our backyards,shelter to wild birds year- round, and shielded my yard from a high nightlight that makes it hard to see the stars at night. I pruned it annually, but house sold -- new owner who spent 2008 summer evenings in his backyard drinking beer and swearing at his family chainsawed it down to ugly nubbins last fall. In shock, I retrieved a few branches that fell on my side of the fence and overwintered them -- one large branch I'd laid over the tarp on my woodpile even survived this winter's snow and subfreezing temps that way! Those starts are being replanted on my side of the fence this weekend so in a few years, I'll no longer have to deal with his son outside "playing guns" and aiming at me for fun with his toy guns. Yay for English Laurel!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 3:45PM
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kayef

Gee, I am glad I read all this! A friend of mine told me the builder planted these hedges way too close to the house and together. (I think now that I know they are such growers, AND since I have a neighbor who wants to plant arbor vitae for privacy..(ECHHH) I could in theory, move these five future monsters down there. Since I am a backyard habitat, I am sure the birds would like them, and I would enjoy privacy...
SO - when is the best time to dig up and relocate these guys. Also how much digging is it going to take to get the root ball?
If anyone would like to email me at my email, I'd appreciate it. Of course I will check these forums also.
Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 8:20PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Everyone promoting or coveting this plant should take a walk in some of the local urban parks where it has formed thickets of massive alien shrubbery. The north side of Hamlin Park in Shoreline is a parking spot for drug deals etc. because laurel, holly, ivy etc. have grown up to form an unnatural screen where otherwise there is a grove of native conifers with clear trunks.

Everyone is welcome to come and cut the neighbor's laurel hedge back away from the north side of our house.

Again.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 11:54PM
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jewell_pnw(7)

Any unmaintained plants provide problems. The sequoia a neighbor planted on the south side of my orchard, and the line of fir trees planted on the south property line of our city lot have totally block sun that I would have rather had. Laurel and ivy on the other hand are quite manageable if you are willing to take the time, just like you would any garden plants.

We had a 40 foot strip of laurel hedge for 25 years. It was planted for quick separation between the duplex next to us that had a series of bad renters. It was a successful planting for a number of years (approximately 20 years) with the plants one foot to eighteen inches apart. We did hedge it yearly fairly hard, keeping it narrow (2 feet deep) and tall (approximately 10-12 feet). We have a wire fence that is approximately five feet tall that also provided a barrier. If you want quick results and are willing to prune at least yearly and after it gets going twice yearly no problem. We had an old lawnmower that we chopped the clippings with and used as mulch on the other beds. We never had a problem with seeds/flowers until we started taking it out (a two year job, because we got rid of the debris as we went and weren't as dedicated as we should have been) and stopped clipping it. Laurel can fill a need if you want very quick results.

If you aren't in quite such a hurry ivy takes approximately 3 years to reach six feet with support and training (first year sleeps, second year creeps and third year leaps). We must have 800 feet of ivy hedges planted around and bisecting our city lot. They are 27 years old. These I would not trade for any other type of fencing for providing a barrier to neighbors and keeping our dogs in while looking great. All are on old wire fencing that is supported with metal posts. Some is on chainlink fencing. The front fence is only 3 feet tall and I clip it hard once a year. The back yard is six feet plus in height. It is 6-8 inches in depth. I love it as the easiest hedge to take care of. I don't clip the back fencing but every other year or so. It doesn't get out of control, and we mow along the edges. For neighbors that don't take care of their yards or areas that are not taking care of, ivy keeps down the blackberries (which were big rat infestation areas in our neighborhood)and most other weeds. I haven't had a problem with the ivy going to seed either unless I don't trim it for more than three years (flowers on old wood). Ivy clippings make the best mulch for garden beds. We run over the clippings with our old lawnmower and use them in the vegetable garden and flower beds. Green gold as far as I am concerned.

Whatever you plant make sure you like it, and are willing to maintain. When we had our lot enlarge (purchase of additional yard from neighbor) taking out the ivy fencing was just as troublesome as the laurel.

Oh yeh, I've also planted golden bamboo (clumping form). Believe it or not this is also a great hedge if you are willing to harvest the canes yearly for garden stakes. It wasn't until this year (I didn't harvest canes for five years) that I have had to do any hedging and severe cutting back. It takes much longer to establish and have a nice stand, but it does get to be 20-25 feet tall. The clumps have gotten wider that what I would normally keep a hedge (approximately 2 1/2 to 3 feet), but having the stakes for decorative supports around the yard and garden would cost me a small fortune to purchase. And yes I use the old lawnmower to chop the leaves from the stalks for composting.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 2:21AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

>Laurel and ivy on the other hand are quite manageable if you are willing to take the time, just like you would any garden plantsThe problem is that these do not stay in the garden. Birds spread them onto undeveloped property and natural areas, as well as the gardens of neighbors.

If everyone kept all their plantings of these closely sheared or otherwise prevented flowering, then they would not seed out.

Everyone does not do that by any means.

>I've also planted golden bamboo (clumping form)There is no clumping form of golden bamboo. Like other running bamboos grown in our dry summer climate it may remain in a tuft for years due to lack of optimal soil conditions.

I've had a shoot of the 'Koi' cultivar pop up about 15'-20' away from the parent plant, with no other stems between.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 10:13AM
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jewell_pnw(7)

Guess I am doing something wrong then, and for 26+ years. Plants are where they are supposed to be and none have flowered, run or set fruit. Clipping and cutting have worked for me. Now those pesky butterfly bushes are another story, I tore all of that out years ago and it still pops up.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 1:58PM
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PRO
George Three LLC

i just took out a huge english laurel hedge. it was a ton of work, and i had a bit of hired help with it.

two owners ago they really let the hedge go, volunteers all over the neighbor's property turning into small trees. one very old volunteer about 30 feet tall, 30 feet wide. its actually a very attractive tree when you let it go.

but still, the point is that hedges don't just magically disappear when you sell/move. YOU may keep it in check, but 3 owners from now? how do you know that person is gonna prune it correctly to keep it from fruiting?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 7:13PM
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kkcowmanua

i have a laurel hedge which is 14 feet tall, and I'd like to trim it down to 10. What type of ladder or scaffolding would anyone suggest using to get at the top? I have 350 feet of hedge to trim, with a gas powered double sided hedge trimmer. Would an orchard ladder (3 legs) be a good choice? Any suggestions would be helpful

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 11:57PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If you assemble a platform like painters use you won't be going up and down a ladder hundreds of times. With an orchard ladder only you can't cover very much horizontal distance with each placement of the ladder.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 1:54PM
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cherokeedawn

WoW, hot or cold and none between! This has been a very interesting thread.

I am worried now however because I just planted 8 'Otto Luyken' and the tag says english laurel. I am confused by all of the different kinds listed online. Is this small shrub the same thing as the cherry otto luyken?

It says on it 24-36 inches tall and six foot spread. I have seen them all over and they do not seem to "take over" anything. Should I be worried? Should I dig them all up and throw them into an abyss?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 2:40AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

'Otto Luyken' is a slow-growing, dark green named selection of English laurel.

English laurel: Dairy cow

'Otto Luyken': Holstein

Old plants will be well above head height, as can be seen at the Seattle arboretum. Although it fruits I seldom see seedlings that resemble it. It may, however give off seedlings resembling the typical species - I don't know.

Some specimens of this cultivar have terrible Prunus shot hole fungus problems in this area, looking almost as though a shotgun was fired through them.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 2:39PM
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mangas

I've been considering English Laurel for a hedge but am open to alternatives. Even after reading this thread, I still think Laurel is a good fit for my needs, but let me know what you all suggest.

I have a (mostly open) half acre that borders a highway with lots of noisy traffic. Currently only grass and weeds grow on that edge of the property, and I don't plan to use the area for anything (house at other end of property is occupied). On the other side of highway, there are a bunch of tall, ugly industrial buildings. Ideally, I want a hedge (wall) with the following characteristics:

1.) Thick and tall (for privacy, and to block view of ugly buildings). 10' wide and 30' tall would be wonderful! 20' wide and 40' tall would be fine too. The wider the hedge, the less grass/weeds I have to mow in summer.
2.) Evergreen
3.) Fast-growing
4.) Dense growth (so is capable of dampening some of the road noise).
5.) Relatively inexpensive.

Although it would be a great noise barrier, building a wall there is prohibitively expensive for me right now (and wouldn't be tall enough to block view of ugly buildings anyway).

There is some arborvitae planted on another edge of property but I hate it (so ugly). Laurel is not ugly to me.

Thanks for any ideas.

I am in Portland, OR.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 9:24PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Plantings have little impact on noise. Pacific wax myrtle might work for you.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 1:06AM
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rlmyers_wbcable_net

Ok...I admit it... i am totally confused... I have a place on the Oregon Coast...Seal Rock area to be procise...I boarder Hwy 101...road noise is an issue...My thought was to plant English Laurel to Dampen the road noise and to create a Living fence... the hedge can grow to a heighth of 20 feet before reaching powerline heighth at which point power company will trim as they do all trees along 101.. width can grow as wide as 12 feet... Will this tree at a width of 12 feet dampen the road noise of the traffic..How much wider does this tree grow...what is the maximum heighth and width of this tree if left totally un trimmed...what are my other options to accomplish my desired results...

what to do... what to do...

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 1:21PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Plant something else, not so large-growing. And put up a wall or fence for the noise.

Or move. You have to put up something like a concrete wall or a high earthen mound to muffle a highway. Anything less than that and it will still be really apparent you are right next to a busy road.

There's a reason the highway department erects tall concrete walls to make conditions more pleasant in neighborhoods along freeways.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 11:36PM
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tmcdonald

Hi Marc,

We just planted some new shrubs ourselves and put them about every 2-3' to get nice thick coverage.

Also, the fence should push the back of the plants up, but I might leave room as having the plants rub against the fence will ware the fence a bit. I think a 2 feet would allow you enough room to easily maneuver and handle the hedge. You can trim it to any shape you want, and if you keep it trim you won't have trouble getting back there.
Haven't heard about the trench specifically. We did individual holes and have had no problems. I would also watch for moles and other rodents that might go after the roots when they are getting established.

The link below is a good guide as well.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 12:35AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Since the typical species grows 20'-30' across, if that is what you planted you will certainly get good coverage with a 2'-3' spacing.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 9:21PM
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larry_gene

This forum thread has become like an unpruned laurel, and the original poster's laurels (if planted in 2006) should be in need of heavy pruning by now.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 11:57PM
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Bradybb(wa8)

This is part of the nice monster that lives by me

Here is the top of one of the monster's feet that I want to remove to put in a greenhouse

The battle begins!

The battle rages!

Monster foot is not giving up without a fight!

I can taste victory!

It's over,don't feel so tough now eh Monster foot?

1 two ton come-a-long=$25
10 feet of 1950lb test chain=$32
1 axe=$35
Tearing out a Monster foot=Priceless!

So gteye,if a monster foot is needed to add to your collection or anybody else for that matter, this one will be here til it's claimed or dies,which will probably be through the next millennium.
Excuse me now,I sweaty and need to take a shower. Brady

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 9:05PM
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Lolagirl

Hi,
This is from a complete newbie for planting anything.
We're about to plant Laurels, about 3ft plus, delivered in plastic tubs.
They have a wrapping net? around the root ball.
Do we remove carefully, and tease out the flattened roots, or...?
Before you think, surely everone knows that, well, here's one who is not sure:-(
My husband is 78, in poor health, but still strong.
Please advise.
Thank you,

Lolagiel

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 12:28PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Take off the wrap, place in hole, fill hole with same soil that came out of hole, mulch and water well. No mulch against stems. Wood chips best, otherwise bark. If leaves not a good, deep green, apply evergreen fertilizer per label directions. If fertilizing be sure to keep watered well. And of course you don't want them to get dried out anyway.

If you see roots on the outside of the balls going around in circles try and pull those out into better positions, but I would not try and bare-root this item at this time of the year, under your personal circumstances. Stiff roots that want to bend back can be held out in the desired away-from-center orientation with sticks or rocks - just don't bury a whole bunch of rocks right around the plant.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 2:28PM
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Lolagirl

Thank you, bboy, you are wonderful!
Cheers,
Lolagirl

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 10:58AM
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uintahsp

This thread is a hoot. Sort of religious in nature-- fanatics, apologists, persuaders, lyricists. I was given a 20-gallon pot of 5 or 6 baby laurels. Have 3 acres, 2 of which border forest. Need a quick, tall barrier along the road for privacy and protection vs teenage bb-gun hobbyists-- exactly where the previous owner ripped out a mature laurel hedge because she didn't like laurel. I'm from So. Idaho where we planted 200 trees, of which 20 survived. I love anything that grows. Will plant laurel along the street and trim it 2x a year. That's less than half the frequency & effort needed to trim llama nails. Next owner can burn it down if s/he wishes...

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 9:52AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Planting next to a wooded area not good as liable to spread into it.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 12:53AM
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uintahsp

I venture into that forest frequently. Yes, a little laurel spread from our old hedge to sunny areas along the road. But the bigger problems are holly, blackberry, alder, and foxglove. Fir have a hard time making it. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 8:06AM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

Why don't you go with Leyland Cypress? At least it doesn't set fruit, get suckers and be badly behaved other than just growing. I know it is ubiquitous but for good reason.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 4:21PM
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uintahsp

No one will give me Leyland cypress. Everyone's willing to donate laurel. :) But thank you for this suggestion; I'll look for nursery sales. (Actually, we did plant several Austrian pines. Not the best choice for this climate nor much privacy, also it took them 4 years to take, but they're doing pretty well now.) I'm thinking a tall wire fence with a vine.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 5:17PM
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