Laurel Hedge Plants

A Guide to Planting Laurel Hedge Plants

Laurel Hedge Plants

Laurel hedges are a common sight in Irish gardens. They are evergreen, fast-growing, hardy, and offer great screening, privacy, shelter, and noise reduction. These properties coupled with the fact that they grow in most soil types and locations make them a popular choice for gardeners. Also, they can withstand the cold Winter conditions whilst still maintaining their colour and foliage.

Due to the fact that they are fast-growing, with a growth rate of up to 2.5 feet in any year, it is worth noting that there is more labor-intensive work involved in pruning and maintaining a formal structure on a Laurel hedge.

When to plant Laurel Hedge Plants

Bareroot laurel hedge plants are planted when they are dormant during the Bare root season, which runs from November to April in Ireland.

Large Root Ball Hedging Plants are also lifted and transplanted in the bare root season.

Potted Laurel Hedge plants can be planted all year round as the root system is intact and tends to be a common option for Summer planting projects.

Spacing Laurel Hedge Plants

The size of the plant is often determined by budget and need. If planting a new hedge we recommend a smaller plant, usually 2-3ft tall at a spacing of 3 per metre so 13 inches apart.

If a larger mature instant laurel hedge is required, our bushy laurel plants are available from 4ft to 6ft in height and roughly 80-90 cm in width and therefore should be planted a meter apart.

If taking on a Summer planting project or you decide you want potted plants we have bushy laurel plants that would be ideal at a spacing of 2 per metre, therefore 18 inches apart. Smaller potted plants can be spaced at 3 per metre so 13 inches apart.

Before you Start:

With all planting projects, to make the task a little less daunting and to ensure success, let’s start with the basics.

Measure the area and calculate the number of plants needed as per above guidelines.

Weeds and grass are competing for nutrients, therefore clear away weeds, and grass. It also makes planting easier.

You could always use a line mark to mark out a straight line where the plants are going. Laurels are usually planted in a single row.

Here’s a little tip, use a long piece or timber or even a bamboo cane, and mark increments of 1ft, 18 inches or 1 meter apart on the guide with brightly coloured tape or even a marker. This can be used as a guide to ensure even spacing between plants.

How to Plant Laurel Hedge Plants

Option 1 : Bare Root Laurels

  • If Using a spade, dig a sod out of the ground, turn it over and chop into it, till up the soil well. This soil is going back around the roots and if it is well tilled it makes it easier for the roots to spread out into the soil and grow.
  • Dig the hole slightly wider and deeper than the roots of the plant, about 9 inches, but be guided by the size of the root system. Loosen the soil around the edges and toil up the soil that is in the hole.
  • At this point, you could add some Organic Chicken Manure pellets and work into the soil. These pellets break down over time and release essential nutrients into the soil that can be taken up by the plant.
  • Place the plant in the hole and check the depth. Look for the collar – the mark on the plant above the roots where it originally started to grow above the ground.
  • This should be level with the top of the soil. If your Laurel Hedge plant is planted too deep, the stem may rot down and therefore there will be no channel for nutrients to travel from the roots; and if planted too shallow the roots above the ground will die.
  • Hold the plant upright and gently push back the soil, pressing it down onto the roots until firm in the ground.
  • Don’t compact the soil as this will stop water and air circulation, but make sure your laurel hedge plant is secure.
  • Use your homemade measure guide to move on to the next hole and repeat until finished.
  • Hedging plants do not require stakes and ties.

Option 2: Potted Laurel Hedge Plants

  • If Using a spade, use the same method but obviously, a wider hole to accommodate the entire established root system.
  • As before, don’t bury too much of the stem of the plant into the ground. You need to cover the top of the root system with about an inch of soil.
  • Potted plants have a slow-release fertiliser in the root system but these plants would still benefit from the addition of Chicken Manure Pellets.

Option 3 : Mature Laurel Hedge Plants – Root Ball Plants

  • We Recommend planting these big bushy plants with a mini digger.
  • Pull a trench about a foot wide and deep.
  • These plants are supplied as a 4ft, 5ft or 6ft option.
  • The root system for these large plants is encompassed in a large hessian net in a football shape.
  • The net is planted into the ground still intact on the plant.
  • The hessian net is biodegradable and will compost down over time. Do not remove this net.
  • These plants are more labour intensive due to their bulk and large size.

Planting Laurel Hedge Plants with a Mini Digger

  • Using a digger for both bare root and potted hedging plants would be a much more time effective option.
  • In this case, pull a trench about 9 inches deep and 9 inches wide.
  • Using the homemade measure you can place your plants at the appropriate spacing along the trench.
  • Backfill the well-tilled soil back in around the root system and walk in the plants firmly.

Things to know about Planting a New Laurel Hedge

  • As with all newly planted hedges, the first year of planting is the slowest in relation to growth. Once the plants have bedded in, the growth rate will increase.
  • The seasons are changing, and the Summers are getting hotter and drier.
  • Laurel hedge plants are incredibly thirsty and will need consistent watering in the first Summer after planting. Larger root ball hedging plants will require even more watering than the smaller ones,
  • A drip watering system or connecting a hose will make the task a little easier.
  • Keeping the newly planted hedge clean of weeds and competition is important and A great way to tackle weeds in an organic manner is to clean off the grass and apply a layer of bark mulch. The bark mulch provides a barrier against weeds whilst also keeping the moisture in at the root.
  • For the first few months after planting, keep plants well walked in, especially after windy conditions.

​Things to look out for:

  • Shot hole is a harmless condition on laurel hedging plants. To treat, prune off the affected leaf and ensure the plants are well-fed.
  • Yellow leaves are a sign of stress and could indicate plants are struggling. This could be a result of a lack of water or even too much water. Very few plants like sitting in water-logged areas.
  • Yellow leaves or even a duller green colour can also be a sign that plants are struggling for nutrients, a feed with organic chicken manure pellets should rectify this for you.

A Practical Step by Step Guide 

To ensure success for your Laurel hedge plants and to learn more about planting techniques you can view our Bare Root Planting Tutorial & our Potted Plant Technique Tutorial