How To Keep Cherry Laurel Hedge Narrow

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:27 pm

Keeping a cherry laurel hedge (Prunus laurocerasus) narrow and well-maintained involves regular pruning and some specific techniques. Cherry laurel is a popular hedge plant known for its dense, glossy foliage and quick growth. To maintain a narrow and attractive cherry laurel hedge, follow these steps:

1. Regular Pruning:

  • Pruning is the key to maintaining the desired shape and size of your cherry laurel hedge. Begin by pruning when the hedge is young and then continue with regular maintenance as it grows. Prune at least once a year, typically in late spring or early summer, when the plant is actively growing.

How To Keep Cherry Laurel Hedge Narrow

2. Choose the Right Tools:

  • Use sharp, clean pruning shears or hedge trimmers. The choice of tools depends on the size and age of your hedge. Hand pruners work well for precision cuts, while electric or gas-powered hedge trimmers are more efficient for larger hedges.

3. Establish the Desired Height and Width:

  • Before you start pruning, decide on the final height and width you want for your cherry laurel hedge. Use stakes and string to mark the hedge’s boundaries, which will serve as a guide during the pruning process.

4. Prune the Top and Sides:

  • To maintain the desired height, cut the top of the hedge first, following the shape of the string guide. Use a level or a long board to ensure a straight top. Then, work on the sides by trimming vertically along the guide string to maintain the desired width.

5. Gradual Reduction:

  • If your cherry laurel hedge has become too large and you want to reduce its size, do so gradually over several years to avoid causing stress to the plant. Reduce the height and width a little each year until you achieve the desired size.

6. Proper Technique:

  • When pruning, cut just above a leaf node or lateral branch. Make your cuts at a slight angle to encourage rainwater to run off and prevent rot. Avoid cutting too close to the center of the plant, as this can lead to a bare interior with sparse growth.

7. Remove Dead or Diseased Branches:

  • During pruning, inspect the hedge for any dead, diseased, or damaged branches, and remove them to encourage healthy growth.

8. Light Trimming Throughout the Year:

  • To keep your cherry laurel hedge in shape, perform light trimming throughout the year as needed. This can help maintain its neat appearance.

9. Water and Fertilize:

  • Proper care of your cherry laurel hedge, including regular watering and appropriate fertilization, will promote healthy growth and a dense, attractive appearance.
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10. Mulching and Weeding: – Apply mulch around the base of the hedge to suppress weeds and retain moisture in the soil. This can benefit the overall health of the plants.

11. Protect Against Pests and Diseases: – Keep an eye out for common pests and diseases that can affect cherry laurel. Early intervention can prevent issues from spreading and damaging the hedge.

Maintaining a narrow cherry laurel hedge requires consistent care and attention, but with the right techniques, you can enjoy a well-manicured and attractive hedge in your garden.

A cherry laurel hedge has many advantages. A cherry laurel is an evergreen hedge plant whose leaves have a wonderful glossy appearance, while the strong branching throughout the year ensures that a cherry laurel hedge can always be used as a privacy hedge. The very different, informal look is the main reason why many garden owners choose a cherry laurel hedge over a conifer hedge, for example. However, some garden owners recognize the problem that it can be difficult to keep a cherry laurel hedge narrow. These concerns are not entirely unfounded, either: after all, a cherry laurel hedge will never be as narrow as a garden fence and a narrowly trimmed yew hedge or thuja hedge. Still, there are ways to keep your cherry laurel hedge narrow. Learn more here.

How To Keep Cherry Laurel Hedge Narrow
Cherry Laurel ‘Caucasica’ (Prunus laurocerasus ‘Caucasica’) also has a somewhat narrower habit than many other cherry laurel varieties.

What varieties of cherry laurel for narrow cherry laurel hedge?

It is easy to explain why many varieties of cherry laurel require a lot of space in terms of width. Their wonderful leaves are generally quite large and therefore need a relatively large amount of space to grow. Should you then go unrestrained with a hedge trimmer, this will not create a pretty cherry laurel hedge. Now you might think that this makes the cherry laurel unsuitable as a narrow hedge, but this is not true. Most of the popular cherry laurel varieties are tall, fast-growing hedge plants that can quickly grow 1.5 meters wide, think of the cherry laurel ‘Rotundifolia’ and the cherry laurel ‘Novita’. However, if you select the appropriate cherry laurel varieties, then narrow cherry laurel hedges can be well realized.

Therefore, when choosing a cherry laurel hedge, it is important to select a variety whose branches grow much more upright than other cherry laurel varieties. An upright growth then automatically means that your cherry laurel hedge cannot grow as wide, but still has a compact structure of leaves and branches, guaranteeing all the other advantages of a cherry laurel hedge. The cherry laurel ‘Genolia’® (Prunus laurocerasus ‘Genolia’®) and the cherry laurel ‘Elly’ (Prunus laurocerasus ‘Elly’) are the best known examples of an upright growing cherry laurel in this context. If you plant such cherry laurel hedges in the garden and trim them regularly, then these hedges can thereby remain well between 80-90 cm wide.

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Cherry laurel ‘Caucasica’ (Prunus laurocerasus ‘Caucasica’) also has a somewhat narrower growth habit than many other cherry laurel varieties. However, there are other reasons why the cherry laurel ‘Caucasica’ is so exceptional. Namely, it is also one of a few cherry laurel varieties with showy flowers. In May, this cherry laurel has pretty clusters of flowers that will beautify your cherry laurel hedge. The Portuguese cherry laurel (Prunus lusitanica ‘Angustifolia’), which is related to the cherry laurel, can also be kept narrow well. It grows only 15-30 cm per year, but it can grow up to 3-4 meters tall as a mature specimen. This makes it well suited as a tall cherry laurel hedge, just like other varieties of cherry laurel already mentioned, allowing for sufficient privacy screening to be realized in your garden.

How To Keep Cherry Laurel Hedge Narrow
For a relatively slow-growing cherry laurel hedge, think Portuguese cherry laurel here, two prunings per year are quite sufficient.

Keeping a cherry laurel hedge narrow through pruning

If you’re looking for care tips for your cherry laurel hedge, you’ll usually hear or read that cherry laurel is quite low maintenance as a fast-growing hedge plant. This is true, of course, because an average cherry laurel hedge will quickly meet your needs after 1-2 prunings per year. After all, the purpose of the thing is not that a cherry laurel hedge should look bolt upright; the cherry laurel is not suitable for that. Nevertheless, even narrow cherry laurel hedges need 1-2 prunings per year, so that the growth can be well controlled. If these prunings take place between March and September, then your hedge can store enough energy during hibernation to get through the winter just fine without any pruning wounds.

For a relatively slow-growing cherry laurel hedge, think Portuguese cherry laurel here, two prunings per year are quite sufficient. The rough pruning is best done before the longest day in spring. Later in September, a second pruning can take place, at which time only those branches that are too out of line should be cut. If you should choose a somewhat faster growing variety, then you should schedule one more pruning between these two pruning moments. Pruning should not be done on a sunny day to avoid burning the cutting edges.

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When pruning your cherry laurel hedge, always use hedge shears or pruning shears that are not too large, and cut the branches off the sides of the hedge one by one if they should take up too much space so that the hedge becomes narrower. Pruning your cherry laurel hedge will take a little longer as a result, however, while pruning a conifer hedge can be done more quickly with a large, electric hedge trimmer. However, careful pruning of a cherry laurel hedge will result in the decorative leaves of the cherry laurel hedge not being cut so that damage to the hedge can be avoided.

Is a narrow cherry laurel hedge still too wide?

Is your garden not big enough for a cherry laurel hedge that can be 80 cm wide? Then that doesn’t mean you should go back to a traditional garden fence, when in fact you would much rather look at a hedge that has glossy green leaves. Also, the common ivy (Hedera helix) or Irish ivy (Hedera hibernica) to grow over a framework. This allows the ivy to form an opaque, evergreen screen consisting of thick, slightly shiny leaves. In terms of width, such an ivy hedge is then quite comparable to a garden fence.

Are you in doubt between two or more, different varieties of cherry laurel? Or would you like individual garden advice, even after you have read the information on our website well? Then contact our customer service. Our customer service will be happy to provide you with advice and support when it comes to suitable hedges for your garden. But also for questions about other evergreen hedge plants, flowering hedge plants or our conifers, you can of course always rely on our plant experts.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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