If you working out how to plant laurel hedging and are planting bare root laurel, you should plant it around November time, when the ground is still warm. The ground should also be dry as bare root laurel is vulnerable to rot if sitting in water for too long.
If your laurel plant comes with a root ball, you have more flexibility over when and where you plant. Even so, November is still the best month. Then, by the time spring comes around, you will find that your hedge is nicely established and ready to grow through the summer.
Preparing the ground
Laurel can do well in most conditions but often struggles in coastal conditions so think seriously about an alternative option if you live by the sea.
While you prepare the ground to receive your laurel plants, keep the roots covered, particularly bare root laurel. You want to expose them as little as possible before they are in the ground.
Clear the area thoroughly before planting and compost any turf, weeds, brambles or other plants you have removed. You want to give your laurel hedge the best chance of thriving by removing competition for nutrients.
Rather than digging individual holes, it is more efficient to dig a trench, spacing your plants eighteen inches to two feet apart. Make sure your trench is around twice as wide as your root ball and a couple of inches deeper (the root ball should not be exposed when the trench is filled in). For bare root laurel, aim for a trench at least ten inches wide. For plants over four foot tall, you will want to widen your trench to one or two feet. As long as the roots have plenty of room to spread out, you should be fine.
It is important that the soil at the bottom of the trench is loose enough for the roots to penetrate. While digging your trench, use a fork to turn over the soil there, especially if you have used a digger which will often compact the soil.
How to plant the laurel hedge
Place your laurel plants in the trench, spacing them eighteen inches to two feet apart.
If you have a good quality soil, adding a slow release feed or some fish blood and bone will be sufficient to nourish your plants. For sandy or heavy soils, add a loam-based compost.
Backfill the trench and firm the soil around the top of the plants with your heel or a shovel.
For plants over four feet tall – or if your garden is exposed to the wind – make sure you stake the plants to protect them. Use stakes between a foot and eighteen inches tall and angle them at 45 degrees, facing the prevailing wind.
Finally, trim the tops of the plants. This will encourage the roots to grow downwards and protect the tips from rot.
Ongoing care for your laurel hedge
Your hedge will need plenty of water for the first two weeks so make sure you water them at least every other day or set up a continuous watering system.
You can expect your laurel hedge to grow about eighteen inches to two feet per year so it won’t be long before you can enjoy the privacy and beauty that a laurel hedge can provide.
After two years, you will want to set up a twice-yearly schedule for trimming your hedge. A light clip on the top and sides with some secateurs will be all that’s needed in most cases.
Prefer to leave things to the specialists?
We hope that has helped you work out how to plant laurel hedging, but if you would rather get expert help in then Arborcure have skill and experience in planting a wide variety of plants, shrubs and trees, including laurel hedging. Visit our planting and pruning page for more information and a quotation form.