The English laurel is occasionally described as a cherry laurel. Derived from the Rosaceae (rose) family of plants, it is native to southeastern Europe and southwest Asia, and known as a robust plant that can handle a wide range of sunlight and soil conditions. It has been popular in Europe for use in hedgerows for hundreds of years, but it also appears as a decorative specimen plant. It is advisable to plant laurel in direct sunlight, or partial shade, in soil with an acidic balance.
Make sure the holes you prepare are twice the width and depth of the root ball or container – but preferably more than that.
If you want to organise the plant in a row formation, then aim to separate each hole by 90cm to 120cm for a thick hedge, and 120cm to 185cm for a thinner arrangement.
Take the soil you extracted from the planting holes and mix it up in a 25 litre tub with peat moss, compost, or manure. Take a beaker of coarse, balanced fertiliser (any vitamin B-based liquid fertiliser that will boost the roots' growth), and add it to this soil mixture.
Now, throw several helpings of the fertiliser and soil mixture back into the planting hole. Make sure the hole is half topped up with water. Let this soak in, before you move to the next step. Extract the English laurel from its tub. Throw the pot upside down while you seize the English laurel at its base, directly on top of the root ball. Use a trowel-type implement, a chunk of wood, or any rock solid, dependable object, and firmly knock along the rim to ease the pot from the root ball.
This is the right moment to insert the laurel into the already prepared planting hole. It must be sitting level! Add soil to fill the planting hole about half way up. Gently pack in the dirt around the root ball of the English laurel. Throw in extra soil to the planting hole until it's full.
To help with watering, create a barrier of earth 5cm high (and ten times that in diameter) around each of the plants as they stand in the soil. By all means, be very generous when watering the plants – it doesn’t hurt to lavish them with attention!
The laurel is mostly considered an easy care shrub. Expect to carry out a heavy trim about twice a year, in summer and autumn. Unfortunately the plant is quite susceptible to shot hole fungus, which can leave tiny punctures in the leaves, but the damage can only be seen at close quarters. It’s probably out of fashion, but if you’re after quick growth and relatively low maintenance, the laurel could be the right choice for you.
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