English Laurel – As a Hedge

Q: I recently had some major landscaping done at my new house. The plan called for Dwarf English Laurel to act as a hedge shrub around the house. An error was made and regular English laurel was delivered and planted instead. Can leave it and prune / train it to be a hedge shrub?

A: Theresa Schrum replies: “You may not be in as much trouble as you believe. If you purchased a cultivar of the English laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) you may be okay.

Here are the cultivars commonly available:

‘Otto Luyken’ grows 3 to 4 feet high and 5 to 7 feet wide.

‘Schip’ laurel (Schipkaensis) is a spreading shrub, 4 to 5 feet tall and 5 to 8 feet wide

‘Zabel laurel’ (Zabeliana) grows 5 to 6 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide.

If, on the other hand, you purchased the un-named species plant, get out your pruners. These shrubs can grow 20 feet tall, 8 feet wide and up to 2 feet per year.

They can be kept smaller with regular pruning. This won’t harm the shrub, but may be a strain on you. It’s entirely up to you. I would re-check with the wholesaler and see if you recieved one of the cultivars listed above.”

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