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How hard can I hack this back?

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Fat Controller, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. Fat Controller

    Fat Controller Cuddly Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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    Whilst unattended last year, the shrub in this picture (the spotty/dappled one - cannot remember the name, sorry) has become absolutely massive. I intend to hack it back at some point in the not too distant future, but how hard should I hack it?

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  2. pete

    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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    • andrews

      andrews Gardener

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      We have this at the entrance of the drive. I'd remove it but it gets lots of small birds nesting in it. Ours is about 8ft tall and 8ft diameter. I keep it in check by cutting back to deep within the plant every year. This helps to keep its size / shape and means that it always has leaves. The leaves are only at the end of leggy growth so taking all of the outside growth off would leave just branches with no foliage. Cut it back as hard as you like - it will take it as Pete suggests.

      Lazy shot taken from my study window just now. It was pruned hard this month so the shape isn't at its best.

      [​IMG]
       
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      • Verdun

        Verdun Passionate gardener

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        Agree but prune with secateurs, or at least tidy with secateurs if you take shears to them. They look awful if leaves themselves are cut. I like to cut to new buds or shoots....as hard back as you like.....but following the basic rounded shape. :)
         
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        • Fat Controller

          Fat Controller Cuddly Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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          Champion, thanks - I won't be hacking until the weather gets better (I cannot tolerate the cold at all now), so it will get a gubbing when I do the other laurel on the other side of the garden that has also gotten way above its station.
           
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          • Mike Allen

            Mike Allen Super Gardener

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            I agree with Verdun. Neighbour downstairs has one either side of her front door. Out comes the electric hedge trimmer and everything gets a good hacking. Looks terrible, leaves chopped in half, chopped ends to branches and stems UGGH!
             
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            • shiney

              shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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              Although I agree that it's best to try and cut back with secateurs it isn't always possible - could be due to amount required or the energy needed. Laurel is tough as old boots and can take a heavy hacking with no problem, if you think it needs it.

              We needed to do some rather heavy hacking :sad:

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              And two and a half months later:-

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              And a couple of weeks after that (far end of the lawn)
              P1170319.JPG
               
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              • Verdun

                Verdun Passionate gardener

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                Yes, laurel can be cut as hard as you like but if sheared will produce dying brown leaves until they (eventually, and they take their time in doing so) drop off so for aesthetic reasons finishing with secateurs is advisable :smile:
                 
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                • WeeTam

                  WeeTam Total Gardener

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                  Tough as old boots,the green one. The spotted ones i find arent as tough. Maybe the 2 ive got are soft or could be possibly infected with something,who knows?
                   
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                  • Snorky85

                    Snorky85 Total Gardener

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                    Anyone know what causes black dry crunchy tips of the leaves of spotted laurel? Looks awful. Tempted to turf out the ones I’ve got and replace them.
                     
                  • shiney

                    shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                    Don't really know the answer without seeing and feeling them. :noidea: At a guess it could be windburn in the tips, that first went brown and then turned black. Is it all over or mainly on one side?
                     
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                    • Snorky85

                      Snorky85 Total Gardener

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                      48C1327C-9E3C-4FAE-BB1B-6A6CA9219043.jpeg

                      Got three of these in the gardens and all of them get it. Prune it all out and ot just comes back again.
                       
                    • Verdun

                      Verdun Passionate gardener

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                      Snorky, are they in heavy wet soil?
                       
                    • Snorky85

                      Snorky85 Total Gardener

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                      Well it’s clay but that part of the garden definitey isn’t wet.
                       
                    • Pushkin

                      Pushkin Super Gardener

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                      I get this on mine and I've got very sandy soil.
                      I tend to just cut the affected leaves off but would like to know the cause of it.
                       
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