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Laurel - Prunus laurocerasus

Laurel - Prunus laurocerasus

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 Acidic, Sandy, Peaty Acidic, Sandy, Peaty
 Alkaline, Chalky, Calcareous Alkaline, Chalky, Calcareous
 Damp and Clays Damp and Clays
 Light Sand Light Sand
 Neutral Neutral
Evergreen Evergreen
Growth Rate: Quick Growth Rate: Quick
RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM) RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM)
Use: Evergreen Hedging Use: Evergreen Hedging
Use: Formal Use: Formal

Characteristics
Plant Protection
Planting & Care
Long Description 5
Images (3)
Questions (3)
Reviews
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RHS Award of Garden Merit

Also known as Cherry Laurel, this is a very fast-growing evergreen shrub with large handsome leaves. It's often planted as a hedge, because its fast growth quickly gives a dense screen to ensure year-round privacy. It has spikes of very sweet smelling flowers in spring, and berries in autumn, which are relished by a range of birds. Planted as a shrub, it tends to layer itself to make a large plant. It can also be trained as a small tree.

Site and soil

Laurel is useful in that it will cope with both dry and damp shade, and even wet situations. It is tolerant of wind, and is often planted as a wind-break, however this Laurel species is not recommended for coastal areas.

Height and spread

Below are the approximate stages of growth, assuming sited in suitable conditions for this species;

After 10 years: 5m x 3m
After 20 years: 6m x 5m

Leaf and bark

The leaves are large – to 15cm long – tough and glossy and oblong in shape. When crushed, they give off a sweet scent; they contain prussic acid and are sometimes used in insect killing jars. The bark is smooth and mid-brown.

Flower, seed and fruit

The small white flowers open in April and are carried in spikes 7 – 12cm long. They have a very sweet smell, which is often carried on the air for yards around. The flowers are followed by round red berries which ripen to black in September. The seed within the berry is poisonous.

Uses

Hedges, screens, game cover, shrub, small tree.

Wildlife

Bees, hoverflies, ants and wasps are attracted to the flowers and several species of birds eat the berries. Laurel provides cover for birds and small mammals.

The main reasons for buying protection is to protect the plants against:

  • Pests
  • Spraying
  • Strimming

Pests

When it comes to deciding what protection to choose the golen rule of thumb is to choose the product dependent on which pest you are protecting against. The below will help you in deciding what height of protection you will need.

Vole Rabbit Hare Roe Deer/Muntjac Fallow Deer
Vole, Mice
20cm
Rabbit
60cm
Hare
75cm
Roe Deer/Muntjac
1.20m
Fallow Deer
1.50m

 Download our full protection range as a printable PDF document.

Protection Options

Pest & Minimum Protection Height Protection Type
Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required
Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.
Vole
Vole, Mice
20cm
Vole Guard*
20cm
*Not recommended for this species
None required
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Rabbit
Rabbit
60cm
Spiral Guard*
60cm x 38mm, 60cm x 50mm
*Not recommended for this species
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Tubex Easywrap*
60cm x 50-65mm
*Not recommended for this species
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Mesh Guard with Spray Shield
60cm x 130mm
2 x Bamboo Canes
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Tubex Fruitwrap*
60cm x 65-80mm
*Not recommended for this species
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs or 14-16lbs
Tubex Ecostart*
60cm x 57-73cm
*Not recommended for this species
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Tree Shelter
60cm x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
60cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
60cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Shrub Shelter
60cm x 130-160mm, 60cm x 144-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Shrub Shelterguard Mesh Tube
60cm x 130-160mm, 60cm x 170-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube for Shrubs
60cm x 130-160mm, 60cm x 170-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
75cm x 25mm, 75cm x 32mm
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Hare
Hare
75cm
Tubex Easywrap*
75cm x 50-65mm
*Not recommended for this species
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs, 14-16lbs or 1.20m x 20-22lbs
Spiral Guard*
75cm x 50mm
*Not recommended for this species
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs, 14-16lbs or 1.20m x 20-22lbs
Tubex Fruitwrap*
75cm x 65-80mm
*Not recommended for this species
Bamboo Cane
90cm x 9-11lbs, 12-14lbs, 14-16lbs or 1.20m x 20-22lbs
Tubex Ecostart*
75cm x 57-73mm
*Not recommended for this species
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Tree Shelter
75cm x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Combitube
75cm x 73-105mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube
90cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube
75cm x 80-110mm, 90cm x 80-110mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Tubex Shrub Shelter
75cm x 130-160mm, 75cm x 144-200mm
Square Sawn Tree Stake
90cm x 25mm, 90cm x 32mm
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Roe Deer/Muntjac
Roe Deer/Muntjac
1.20m
Tubex Tree Shelter*
1.20m x 73-105mm, 1.20m x 80-120mm
*Not recommended for this species
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Tubex Combitube*
1.20m x 73-105mm
*Not recommended for this species
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube*
1.20m x 80-110mm
*Not recommended for this species
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube*
1.20m x 80-110mm
*Not recommended for this species
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.20m x 32mm, 1.35m x 32mm
Galvanised Mesh Tree Guard*
1.20m x 300mm
*Not recommended for this species
Machine Rounded Tree Stake
1.20m x 50mm, 1.50m x 50mm
Sorted by price; lowest to highest
Fallow DeerFallow Deer
1.50m
Tubex Tree Shelter*
1.50m x 80-120mm, 1.80m x 80-120mm
*Not recommended for this species
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Tubex Combitube*
1.50m x 80-120mm, 1.80m x 80-120mm
*Not recommended for this species
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Tubex Shelterguard Mesh Tube*
1.50m x 80-110mm, 1.80m x 80-110mm
*Not recommended for this species
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Tubex Treeguard Mesh Tube*
1.50m x 80-110mm, 1.80m x 80-110mm
*Not recommended for this species
Square Sawn Tree Stake
1.50m x 32mm, 1.80m x 32mm
Galvanised Mesh Tree Guard*
1.80m x 300mm, 1.80m x 600mm
*Not recommended for this species
Machine Rounded Tree Stake
1.80m x 60mm

Spraying

Tubex tree shelters offer the benefit of not only protecting against animal damage, they also ensure that herbicides do not come into contact with the plants during spraying.

The main reason for spraying is weed control, however, there are other options available to suppress weeds. Our accessories section includes weed control matting, fertilisers & wildflower seed.

Strimming

Young plants should be protected from damage caused when strimming. To protect plants solely for strimming, our strimmer guards are the ideal product.

Planting

For a formal looking hedge we recommend planting in a straight line, 3 or 4 per metre.

Follow this link to our 'Planting Advice' page for more detailed information on how to plant your plants.

Rootgrow

We would often advise that you consider using 'Rootgrow' for your bare root plants. Rootgrow simply speeds up an existing natural process. The fungi contained in Rootgrow will begin to colonise the plant or tree roots, extending the root system into the surrounding soil via an extensive network of fungal filaments. 

The benefit of Rootgrowis that it enhances a plants root system so a newly planted plant:

  • Finds more food, finds more water.

  • Needs less fertiliser.

  • Establishes quicker and reduces failure rates (which can be improved even further when used in conjunction with Broadleaf P4)

  • Has increased tolerance to drought and difficult soil conditions

We also have a handy Welfare Guide that includes information on how to check your plants on arrival, how to plant them and also how to look after them. This is sent out with each delivery of bare root plants, but it can be downloaded from our advice pages.

Aftercare

Hedges should be pruned in August. Older plants which have become too large can be cut back to ground level in spring; they will regenerate very quickly.

Readily available advice

For additional information on planting and maintaining your plants, please see our advice pages.

We provide extensive articles, tips, and even tutorial videos, ideal for beginners and those with previous planting experience.

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Share your thoughts with other customers… write your own review

We are intending planting a laurel hedge around an area of grass which is used occasionally for grazing horses and goats, but we understand the plant is somewhat poisonous. Is it OK for horse and goats, please,

Thank you for your question.

We would not recommend planting Laurel near your animals. If you open this link http://blog.treesandhedging.co.uk/news-from-treesandhedging-co-uk/horse-friendly-plants/   we can offer you additional advice on what you may want to plant via our blog pages, packed with advice.

Hope that helps, regards the Trees and Hedging Team

 

A customer raised several questions about their concerns over the planting of Laurel a) serious conservation problem, which together with rhododendron can cause degradation of native habitats. b) that it can be wildlife UNfriendly and if (as it so often is) left uncontrolled it rapidly grows to considerable heights shading and choking out native species. c) getting rid of it once it is established and gets out of control is a major problem - perhaps its one benefit is that its crushed leaves make an excellent method of killing insects! Not good news for our endangered pollinators!

We hope we can allay any concerns with the following advice....

Laurel spreads in the same way as rhododendron, by layering, or rooting, where its branches touch the ground, so it can quickly get out of control.

In the past it was popularly planted for game cover in woodland, but this is rare now and its most usual use is for hedging. It makes a very fast, dense hedge or screen, and can be very useful near busy roads where it helps to muffle traffic noise.

Although the berries and the leaves are poisonous, the berries are a good food source for birds, and the pollen from the sweetly scented blossom is visited by bees, wasps and hoverflies.  It also provides good shelter for birds and small mammals in bad weather.

Like all plants which are left to grow uncontrolled, or are planted in the wrong place, laurel can become a nuisance.

Our advice is that, although it is not a native plant, it does serve a purpose and when planting it is essential to consider the environment and plan the management of the laurel as it grows to ensure it is not left to become unwieldy and out of control.

To form a 30 metre hedge, how many plants I should order?

We would recommend that a Prunus laurocerasus hedge is planted at four plants per metre.

Therefore, in this instance, 120 plants would be required.

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