Laurel hedges

grazie Image
01/09/2013 - 05:40

We have just bought a vineyard property in the Monferrato hills and are thinking of planting a laurel hedge. Do people have any suggestions for this, ie time of year, fertilizer if necessary etc. Also, are there any suppliers for getting dry root stock delivered to ones house?



Depending, I guess, on species, Laurel can grow into big trees. We had a laurel hedge, here in NW England which outgrew us. After five years, it really took off, and needed a lot of pruning to keep it down. (you have to prune, since hedgetrimmers cut through the leaves, which then turn brown) It finally got away from us, growing to about 12ft high, and 6 foot deep, and had to come out. We replaced it with yew, which is faster growing than you would think, but much easier to manage - with hedgetrimmer, not secateurs and loppers. If you have room, it's a good hedge, but check your local and forestiere rules for how close to the boundary you can plant.

If you plump for Laurel, in my opinion, you're letting yourself in for a load of work to keep them in any sense of order. Laurel does grow fast but it will reach 4 metres in a couple of years (assuming you get 1m saplings). They will shoot up and also leave the bottom bare as they are more akin to a tree than a shrub. If you are looking to hedges then a box variety may be worth while, as they are easier to keep regular and don't grow as fast. Oh and stay away from Bamboo as before you know it you have a garden that looks like the set of 'House of Flying Daggers'

I tend to agree with the difficulties of laurel - it can be kept at less than 2m, but it does look poor if attacked with a hedgetrimmer. Bay (laurus nobilis) is slightly less vigorous and because the leaves are smaller it is okay with a hedgetrimmer, it is also more drought resistant. Another similar hedging plant used a lot in Italy is photinia. I'd tend to avoid Yew on a boundary if animals could eat it, it is quite poisonous to sheep, horses and cows. Bay is not quite as hardy as laurel, I don't know how cold it gets in your area of Piemonte. What have your neighbours got on their boundaries? It's always worth looking to see what does well in your immediate vicinity.

As Fillide says, Laurel Nobilis grows very well in Tuscany and you find it in many hedges. Bay leaves are also very handy to have for cooking; however, check your local situation regarding planting it. Also check at your local nursery, they should be able to make recommendations.

We are in northern Lazio and laurel hedging, which seems to be very popular in our village,  was planted by the builder/previous owners.   It has the benefit of growing fast and thickly but I agree with others here that it is a real pain to keep under control.  Gala's suggestion of asking at your local nursery seems a good idea.

Hi grazie We have also purchased a rustico in piemonte in the mombercelli area. I am very excited about the garden as my I am trained in horticulture  and lectured for many years at the welsh college of hort, I used to specialise in med plants so at last i get to grow the plant in the best environment. I am busily designing my new garden. I completely agree with the other comments in fact our garden has a laurel bush very large which is about to be removed. Our house in wales has a laurel hedge boundary it is over 20ft high even though it is pruned. It also has multiple seedling around it's base. However it is very good for noise restriction. I feel the climate in monferrato is more kind and it would be a constant battle. I have noted that most people in our area use Pyracantha or cotoneaster hedging which is very beautiful, has white blossom in spring, lovely berries in autumn and the bonus of being prickly so good for security. It is also moderately fast growing. Just remember if you purchase plants that are fast growing they do not stop when they reach the height you want. Most people in Britain have overlooked this when planting leylandii. It has caused no end of problems!! I do consider laurel in thjis group. But still very useful in the right area. What part of piemonte are you in we could exchange growing experiences and also house renovation tips.(which we very much need) Julia G.  

In reply to by julia G.

Thank you for the comments in general. I can see that laurel may be a problem but we want height (circa 3m) and probably up to 200/250m in length. We are also not too bothered about the trimming as having a few brown leaves is unimportant as most of the hedge will be quite a distance from us and seperate the vineyard from the garden. Where it is closer we can trim it by hand. We will also get someone to do this for us. In our area laurel is also used a lot! Julia G, you mention cotoneaster hedging. Which variety are you suggesting? (We are South of Asti but have not moved in. There is a lot of planning to do before that)