Common laurel, perfect for an evergreen hedge

Common laurel is a shrub evergreen that is often shaped to form hedges.

A list of Common Laurel facts

NamePrunus laurocerasus
FamilyRosaceae
Type – shrub, bay

Height – 3 to 16 feet (1 to 5 m)
Exposure – full sun to shade
Soil – ordinary

Flowering – April
Foliage – evergreen

It is appreciated for its rapid growth and its view-breaking properties.

Planting common laurel

You can plant common laurel from October to March with a preference for fall to favor root development before winter.

In the hedge, place the base of each stem at least 32 inches (80 cm) to 3 feet (1 meter) apart for a hedge around 6 ½ feet (2 meters) feet tall. If you need to climb higher, space the plants a bit more.

  • Common laurel prefer locations with high exposure to sunlight.
  • It can tolerate any type of soil.
  • Look up our advice on planting shrubs.

Pruning common laurel

Laurel flowers are a delicate white tone.There are 2 pruning seasons for your common laurel, in spring and in fall.

It is a shrub that can bear pruning well, even heavy pruning.

  • In hedges, if you want to slow its growth, opt to prune annually in fall, as the sap descends.
  • If you prune in spring, your common laurel will develop faster.
  • Refer to our guidelines on how to correctly prune shrubs.

Common laurel and diseases

It is a shrub that is quite resilient to most diseases, but isn’t without its own share of parasite attacks, especially aphids.

They are easy to recognize on the underside of leaves, they are small green-colored insects.

When leaves turn yellow or begin to lose their color, it usually means that some type of nutrient is lacking in the soil, and adding fertilizer might be necessary.

Finally, if orange spots appear on the common laurel, it is due to silver leaf disease. The only solution is to eliminate infected specimens, because there is no known treatment and it would spread to the entire common laurel hedge if left unchecked.

Toxicity of common laurel

Common laurel, also called cherry laurel, contains cyanide that one should of course never ingest.

Some herbivores can even die from it, as well as animals such as dogs who might try to taste the common laurel’s leaves, branches, or fruits.

Common laurel, a natural sound barrier

Common laurel is an excellent natural sound barrier.

If you live near a busy passing road, near a highway or simply in a noisy neighborhood, this shrub is one of the best possible natural sound barriers there are.

Due to its dense foliage made of thick, leathery leaves, noise is absorbed and reduced much more than most other types of shrubs.

  • Planting the specimens rather close together will quickly give you a nice plant wall.
  • Regular pruning will make foliage even denser, which will heighten the sound-absorbing performance.

Bright green, opaque laurel hedge.

Smart tip about common laurel

In a hedge, alternate common laurel with other evergreen shrubs to increase overall visual impact: beautiful.

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Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Laurel berries by Ulrike Leone under Pixabay license
Common laurel floral buds by Hans Braxmeier under Pixabay license
Common laurel hedge by Roger Eavis ☆ under © CC BY 2.0