Caring plants in general and Cherry Laurel in particular is not such an easy task. You have to pay attention to how to fertilize, how to water, and how to prune Cherry Laurel on time correctly.

How To Fertilize Cherry Laurel

Fertilizer plays a crucial role in the growth of Cherry Laurel. Based on the environment (Cherry Laurel is in the ground or in pots), the fertilizer will be used differently.

  • In the ground, experts advise that it is good to fee Cherry Laurel in spring with slow-release shrub and tree food or natural organic plant food.
  • Otherwise, in pots, it should be provided with a slow-release granular plant fertilizer or all-purpose water-soluble liquid plant food. To avoid stimulating new growth that could be damaged by an early frost, cease fertilization two months prior to the first frost date in your area.
  • Moreover, soil pH is a concerning factor when fertilizing Cherry Laurel. You should guarantee soil pH ranging between 4.5 to 7.5.

How To Water Cherry Laurel

First, English Laurel must have a well-drained soil. They prefer a consistently damp to moist but well-drained soil. As with so many other types of ornamental plants, constantly soggy or wet soil can be problematic. So, be careful not to over-water them.

At Planting Time
Immediately after planting deep soak the soil in the planting area, including the root ball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball. For an extra boost, you can water your newly planted English laurel with a solution of Root Stimulator, which stimulates early root formation and stronger root development. Root Stimulator reduces plant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants.

During The First Growing Season
In average garden soil you should not have to water your newly planted English laurel every day. More often than not, this causes soggy soil conditions that can lead to root rot and other harmful plant diseases. In the absence of sufficient rainfall, water only as needed to keep the root ball and surrounding soil damp to moist. Use the finger test to check soil moisture. Keep in mind that deep soaking less frequently is much better than splashing just a little water on the plants every day. Shrubs planted during the winter dormant season, when plants are not actively growing and evaporation is much slower, will require much less water. So, be extra careful not to overwater during winter.

Thereafter
When established, English laurel will tolerate short dry periods. That said, they like a consistently damp to moist soil, especially during the heat of summer. If during a drought you see leaves wilting, or stem tips dropping, this could be an indicator your plants could use a good deep soaking. Always use the finger test or a moisture meter to check soil moisture before watering. 

Note:  When watering with an automated irrigation system it’s best to set your timer to water during the early morning hours and not in the late evening or at night, which can lead to the onset of fungus and other foliar diseases. During the first few weeks after planting, check soil moisture often and adjust irrigation time if necessary to keep the soil moist, not wet.

How To Prune Cherry Laurel

English laurels (Prunus laurocerasus) come in many varieties of different shapes and sizes. Basically though, the pruning method and time is the same for all. The difference for how you prune will depend on the variety, the habit of growth, and the desired form: natural or formal. 
Dwarf and spreading English laurels are grown as ground cover plants. Other larger growing English laurel varieties are grown as mid to large-size shrubs, hedges or privacy screens. 

When To Prune English Laurel
As with many other evergreen flowering shrubs, timing is important if you want to see flowers on your English laurels. If you prune laurels in early spring, before they’ve bloomed, you’ll most likely prune off most if not all of the flower buds. English laurels set their flower buds in late summer or fall so pruning too late in fall or winter will also remove flower buds. 
The best time to prune your laurels is immediately after the plants have flowered in spring. Laurels can be safely pruned again anytime through mid summer. To avoid removing flower buds and forcing new growth that could be damaged by a freeze, cease pruning two months prior to the average first-frost date in your area. After plants have gone dormant for winter, pruning can resume.
Note:  If you’re not concerned about removing flower buds, then pruning can be performed at any time up until late summer. 

Pruning Instructions
When provided enough space to grow to their natural size, English laurels do not require pruning, though they respond very well to almost any amount. That said, plants have a tendency to grow larger than the listed size over time. And, sometimes, you might want to grow these magnificent plants in locations that won’t provide the space for a mature specimen. If so, a simple annual pruning can keep plants at one-third to half their mature dimensions.
English laurels respond very well to pruning. When pruning to maintain a smaller shrub (after flowering in spring) it is best to use bypass hand pruners or lopper pruners to selectively cut back individual branches to a desired length. 
Hedge clippers or trimmers can be used on taller growing English laurel varieties to maintain formal hedges and screens, though doing so will cut leaves in half, which some of us think is unsightly. This type of shearing can be performed anytime during the winter or after flowering in spring (if you want flowers) and again through late summer. 
Note:  The main consideration regarding when to prune English laurel hedges has to do with their seasonal growth. If your final pruning of the season is performed by August it allows the plant to flush new growth before the plant goes dormant when cooler temperatures arrive. 

Rejuvenation Pruning
When an English laurel has way overgrown the space it was intended to fill, or when an old plant has become weak and thin, rejuvenation pruning might be in order. This type of drastic pruning involves cutting the plant back from half its size down to 6 to 12 inch stumps. Basically, you can cut them back as much as you want. 
Rejuvenation pruning can be performed from early spring through late summer, but I usually suggest doing it in late winter, when the plant is dormant. This way new growth will shoot out soon thereafter when soil temperatures start to warm in spring. 
Note:  Rejuvenation pruning offers no guarantees. It can kill a weakened plant that doesn’t have enough life energy left to rejuvenate itself. That said, what do you have to lose if the plant is dying a slow death or will have to be removed due to its overgrown size?

About the author
Adrian Byrne
I am Adrian Byrne, the owner of Hedging.ie and Laurehedging.ie. I have 20-year experience in the Horticulture industry and working with customers.

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