How to plant a laurel hedge

23/07/2019

Laurel hedges are extremely popular in the UK because they’re an evergreen plant that are relatively easy to look after. They are happy to grow in the shade, during cold weather and even in heavy clay soil. They also grow quite fast, making them the perfect plant if you’re looking for some privacy. But if you want your hedging to thrive, it needs to be planted correctly. 

There are a few varieties of laurel hedge. For the purpose of this post, we’ve picked the most popular variation, the cherry laurel hedge, so do check which type you’ve purchased before following our advice.

Below, we’ve summarised when and how to plant a laurel hedge, as well as how quickly it can grow. 


man on a step ladder trimming a green laurel hedge

When should you plant a laurel hedge?

If you’re transferring your laurel hedge from a pot or container into a flower bed, it can be planted at any time of year. However, for the best and fastest results, you should try to plant the hedge around mid-autumn. This will give it enough time to develop its roots before the spring/summer when the weather is much dryer. When it’s first planted, your laurel hedge will require plenty of watering (unless it rains very frequently), particularly during the peak growing season of March to October. 

How far apart do you plant laurel hedging?

You should position each plant two to three feet apart, depending on how quickly you want a dense hedge to form. If you want a thick hedge quickly, plant them two feet apart, otherwise plant them at three feet intervals.

How to plant laurel hedging

First, you should clear the area, taking care to remove any weeds, grass or other plants. Do this with a garden fork or a small trowel. If there are lots of weeds in the area, you can add some weed killer around two weeks before you plant the hedge. This won’t have an effect on the laurel, but the weed killer will make sure any weeds in the surrounding area are dead. 

Then you should dig the holes for your hedges. It’s a good idea to dig a hole that’s twice the width of the hedge’s base - you can fill this in later. When you dig the hole, ensure that you churn up the soil at the bottom so the roots can bury down more easily. If your soil is particularly hard or sandy, add some loam-based compost to the bottom of the hole. For normal soil, add some controlled-release feed that will give the plant a head start for growing. 

Once you’ve prepped the hole, it’s time to put the plant in. Wiggle the plant slowly out of its current container and place it in the middle of the hole. Make sure the top of the roots are one or two inches below the surface of the soil. 

Refill the hole with soil and gently press down with the sole of your foot to secure the soil around the base of the hedge.

How fast do laurel hedges grow?

Given the right conditions, a laurel hedge can grow up to two feet a year. This can depend on the soil type, whether it’s in sunlight or shade and how sheltered from the wind it is.

With plenty of water, your laurel hedge should thrive and reward you all year long.


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