Laurus nobilis (1)

Are Bay leaves edible?

The leaves the of the Bay tree (Laurus nobilis) are edible but dried leaves are very sharp and can cause choking and internal organ damage so they are usually removed from dishes before serving. If the leaves have been grounded up then they can be eaten safely.

Read more about the use of bay leaves for culinary purposes…

Maintenance (1)

When should I prune a laurel hedge?

Early spring is the best time to prune a laurel hedge, ideally after the last frost of the season and after the last of the spring blooms have fallen away.

Planting (10)

How many Laurel do I need to form a hedge?

Laurel hedging should be planted 60 – 90cm ( 2 to 3 feet) apart.

A denser hedge can be formed faster by planting them closer together, but it will cost more as you need more plants.

How do I plant Laurel hedges?

It is easy to plant Laurel hedging. A correctly planted hedge will establish faster though. The key to this is making it easy for the laurel plants to establish a good root system.

  1. Decide the planting line.
  2. Dig a trench double the width of the pot or rootball and place the laurel hedging at the chosen planting distance in the trench.
  3. Fill the trench with the top fill, or ideally a high quality compost, being careful to ensure the soil is nice and loose around the roots of the laurel hedging.

How do I get my Laurel hedge to be nice and bushy?

Trim your laurel hedge immediately after planting if there are any branches coming our further or higher than you want the hedge to be. Trim the sides back to the width and height you want twice a year as this will encourage the shoots within the laurel hedge to bush out and form a dense screen.

Do I need planning permission to plant a hedge?

In most cases a hedge can be planted without planning permission but you are responsible for its care and maintenance.

When should I plant a laurel hedge?

A laurel hedge can be planted at virtually any time of year, however most lawn and garden experts recommend planting in early autumn. This is because it gives the plant enough time to fully establish a root system before the cold weather of winter sets in whilst also protecting young new growth from the dry and hot conditions of summer.

Planting a hedge in cool, moderate weather making sure it stays damp until the roots are fully established is the goal.

Container-grown plants can be put in the ground at any time of year.

Hedging planted during the growing season (March to October) will need more water than those planted during the wetter times of year.

Between November to March you can purchase rootballed laurel plants which are usually cheaper that container grown plants. These are plants which have been grown in the ground and then dug up during the dormant season.

What should the planting distance be between each laurel to form a hedge?

Laurel plants should be planted 60cm to 90cm apart (2ft – 3ft) to form a good laurel hedge. The closer you plant the more instant your hedge will be. You will need more plants though so it will cost you more to plant. The further away you plant the longer the laurel hedge will take to fill in. A compromise can be found between planting distance, number of plants required, and time to fill in.

Can I plant a laurel hedge close to a wall or fence?

This depends on how friendly you are with your neighbours. The closest you can plant to the wall or fence is 45cm (18”) but you will want to make sure you can trim branches on the boundary size or you could risk the hedge pushing into the fence or wall as it grows potentially causing damage.

Once the hedge is fully established it will be too dense to allow the light through to the fence side. Without the light on the fence side it will stop growing so you will no longer have to trim here. However, it will protrude over the top of the fence into your neighbours garden so you may have to trim it from their side.

What is the growth rate of laurel?

LaurelGrowth Rate Per Year
Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)60cm (2ft)
Portugal Laurel (Prunus lusitanica)45cm (18”)
Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)40cm (16”)

Note that this growth rate is under ideal conditions for growth:

  • A sheltered site in full sun
  • Good fertile soil
  • Plenty of water

Any conditions less than ideal will result in a slower growth rate.

Can I grow laurel in the shade?

All types of laurel will grow in the sun or partial shade. Cherry laurel and portugal laurel tolerate shade the best.

What is the difference between container-grown, rootballed, and bare-root laurel hedging?

Container-grown plants are laurel plants that have been grown in pots. They can be planted any time of year as long as they are kept well watered during the growing season.

Rootball and bare-root laurel are field-grown plants which are dug up during the winter when the plants are dormant. They can only be planted between November and March when the plants are not growing. Bare-root plants have had all the soil shaken and washed off the roots. They are the cheapest but there is a high failure rate when planting these plants. Rootballed laurel is dug up with a ball of soil still around the roots. This is then held together using hessian or an equivalent material until planting.