Pruning Cherry Laurel: A Guide To Proper Pruning

You should prune your cherry laurel two or three times a year. In this article you can read how to bring it back into shape.

Pruning the cherry laurel: The right time

The cherry laurel is an extremely popular hedge plant. It grows quite quickly and forms opaque hedges, making it suitable for the front garden. To keep the laurel in shape and dense, you should prune it back regularly.

Prune the branches of your cherry laurel at least twice a year: the first pruning is to maintain it. It should be done at the beginning of spring, in mid/late March. A second pruning is necessary to keep the laurel in shape. September is a good time for this.

Pruning cherry laurel: The first cut in March

Verwende eine Handschere, keine elektrische, um deinen Kirschlorbeer zu schneiden.

Cherry laurel grows between 20 and 40 centimeters per year. Therefore, the plants should be pruned heavily, especially in the first few years. This also ensures that the laurel grows compactly. Cut the laurel back by about half in March. Don’t cut it any shorter than that, though – it can be detrimental to the plant’s growth. In later years, you won’t have to cut back quite as much. It is enough to cut the hedge by about a third.

Keep the following points in mind when pruning the cherry laurel:

  • It is important that you use a sharp hedge trimmer. This will allow the cuts to heal much faster than with dull shears.
  • Cut with hand shears, not electric ones. The latter cause damage to shrubs and dense hedges because the blade bars shred the foliage.
  • Also, make sure you don’t cut in wet weather. Otherwise, the risk of fungal attack increases.
  • Topiary, for example as a ball, are possible but costly. Cherry laurel plants in unusual shapes must be pruned regularly.
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Pruning cherry laurel: The cut in September

Damit die Kirschlorbeer-Hecke gesund bleibt, solltest du einige Blätter entfernen.

In September, you should prune your laurel again. This is essentially to keep the laurel in shape. By pruning, you can also prevent the plant from being attacked by diseases:

The older the cherry laurel is, the more foliage it bears. Then only little light penetrates into the interior, so that the inner leaves become bare. Therefore, cut off some stronger branches directly at the base. This will allow enough light and air to enter the interior.

Laurel is susceptible to fungal attack, e.g. mildew or shot blight. If you see infested leaves, you should act quickly. You can recognize powdery mildew by a whitish coating on the foliage, and shotgun blight by holes in the leaves. Cut off infested leaves and dispose of them immediately.

Use fall pruning to get the plant back into shape. Cut back the branches so that new shoots can form.
Tip: Cherry laurel leaves rot very slowly. It is therefore better not to dispose of your cuttings in the compost but in the organic waste garbage can.


  • 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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