45 thoughts on “English Laurel as Privacy Hedge: “Act of Aggression Against Oneself and One’s Neighbor” – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Iwould like to know how to transplant a english laurel hedge. I have one hedge now but I don!t know how to get starts off of it.

  2. laurel will grow quickly from seed if you can let a piece of it go for a a bit till it matures to fruit, you can then cut it back harshly (chainsaw ect…) as it will have grown a foot by the next six months. I usualy cut my two fity foot hedgerows back after both fall and spring or I have to bring out the big guns to bust through the woody year branches.

  3. I have a very lagre laurel hedge in the front yard. We trimmed one side but would like to top it off. The laurel was about 12 feet wide and is about 25 feet tall. We trimmed it back to about 5 feet wide and would like to trim it down to about 8 feet tall. Will this kill the laurel as there will be little to no foliage left? And when is the best time of year to do so?

  4. First, Tamara, you didn’t ask for this advice but I’m going to offer it anyway: why don’t you consider getting rid of the English laurel hedge entirely and instead put in a privacy hedge that will not have the tremendous drawbacks of the laurel. You could grow bamboo in big pots (which will grow aggressively but due to the pots will not become invasive like the laurel). I’m no horticulturalist but there are many fine alternatives for hedges.

    I think I’ve enumerated the laurel’s drawbacks in my post but just to recap. It grows up to 5 feet per year. So if you want to keep it at a specific height level be prepared for at least yearly pruning (Dan wrote above that he has to trim his twice a year!). Plus, it spews berries at least 50 feet or more from the tree so you’ll be pulling out seedlings for months afterwards if your tree is anywhere near your lawn or garden. If you have kids or pets you should also be aware that almost everything about the laurel is poisonous. They’re just plain invasive.

    All that being said, is there anything positive to say about the laurel? Yes. If you let it grow as a tree it looks quite nice. But using the laurel as a privacy hedge is a different story.

    To answer your questions, there’s nothing you can do to harm a laurel tree short of poisoning it. Maybe I’m exagerrating a bit. And I don’t think it matters much when you trim it. If you’re concerned about the tree’s welfare you should probably trim it in the fall or early spring before new growth starts.

    1. Hi there,Can you kill a laurel?
      I need a retaining wall on a bank that has the laurels growing on it..the bank is totally eroding.The stone mason told me he was going to cut the laurel back to the ground.That will not do it will it?I do not want the laurel to grow back out and push out my walls.What poison can be used to kill it?To take the “trees” out by the roots would be cost prohibitive to me.
      Thank you for answering.

  5. Dan: I meant to congratulate you on being so conscientious about maintaining your English laurel. My neigbor maintains his 50 foot hedge with trimming every two years which just about destroys my chance for a summer garden in my back & side yards. If you have neighbors, they must be grateful to you for being so thoughtful.

    And btw, should you ever wish to move to Seattle I’ll put you in touch with my neighbors who own a lovely home. I’d even chip in to help you buy it (just kidding!).

  6. So how do you poison one of these hedges ive had enough of next doors hedge but cant seem to find any weed killer that will do it in?

    any suggestions welcome

  7. Man, what do you take me for? Someone who encourages neighborhood violence & garden vandalism? Have you tried negotiating w. yr neighbor? Ask him if you can pay to remove the hedge & replace it w. something that will satisfy him & you both.

  8. I don’t know what URI means
    However be a devil and tell us how to poison a laurel hedge some neighbours are totally selfish and just enough to slow growth would be good

  9. We live in Selah (near Yakima) Washington and have five acres. Our neighbor to the east has added to his collection of junk autos a derelict motorhome and another old pickup that has been dragged out to have the wheels and other parts removed. Last year they brought home two hounds to add to their dog collection. The dogs before this addition were not too bothersome but now with the two hounds I can’t go out to change the sprinkler location without the dogs charging the fence barking and baying. That’s five aggressive dogs. That’s not counting the two dogs that belong to their friends that live in the later-model moterhome that bark non-stop while I am out weeding my watermelon and cantalope. Of course those two are tied up to the big moterhome.
    My mother in Port Angeles has a nice big laurel hedge to block the defunct carwash business next door. Of course that disables the nice view of the Port Angeles harbor and the Dungeness spit with the San Juan Islands in the distance. But the hedge is nice and big and bushy. I realise the hedge wouldn’t stop the barking and that horrible baying but may help stop them from seeing us out in the yard and would block the view of the house and yard and would eventually leave us with just the view of the Yakima Training Center and the surroundings. I know this idea is unneighborly but I am almost desperate. I’ve heard that laurel takes to cutting starts easily. I just hope a 12-15 foot setback from the fence is enough although I have about forty feet to my watermelon patch. Ken O (9-17-07)

  10. Ken: My sympathies on a very bad situation w yr neighbors.

    I’ve already written this here so hopefully you’ve read all the drawbacks. I’d urge you to consider a diff. type of privacy hedge. First, you’re looking at 30-50 ft. hedges at max. height. Second, think of the shade generated by this hedge on yr own garden. Third, think of the all the seedlings you’ll have to pick out of yr own garden which are thrown far clear of the hedge itself.

    Go to a nursery & get other options before you try this. My suggestion anyway.

  11. Thanks Richard for the tips. I am a bit late in replying this being Oct 21. I won’t give up on a different type of hedge but I get sticker shock at the local nursery for just about anything they sell. There is always online sales and of course the local county extension office may have leads. But still a hedge about 10 to 12 feet high would be great and the neighbors have brought in two more junk cars. If nothing else I’ve got to try growing an English laurel as atree or two. My property borders 660 feet of mobile home park to the north and a couple of big laurels would be interesting. I have been collecting tree seeds and nuts from the local parks. Sycamores are all over the place here. I have seven maples started in pots. If they turn out to be silver maples I may not want to plant them because that type is brittle and the branches tend to break in the wind. So I keep on learning. I have about two acres to plant trees. I have most of my fruit trees closer to the house. A 50 foot laurel; now that is interesting. Thanks again, Ken O in Selah

  12. Ken: As long as you realize that you can’t just plant “an English laurel or two.” If you plant one you’ll constantly be plucking out scores of seedlings ea. yr. unless you want them to grow into trees as well. They’re prolific. Though I recognize they ARE easy to grow & cheap.

    Sycamores are wonderful & I love that option if you’re near water (which they love). Maples can be a problem if your land gets really soaked through as they tend to topple in big winds or heavy rains. That’s why the natives are so good because they’ve adapted to these conditions.

    I’ve just started a Korean Hornbeam which I picked up at a horticulture garden sale. It will grow between 15-20 feet. So far it looks lovely but it doesn’t seem to grow very fast which may not be what you’re looking for.

  13. wow-im surprised to hear the negatives on this plant.Its seen in my area-it has givin us privacy(im so glad the neighbore planted it-!)7 yrs later its not invasive and i wouldnt mind and wish i could get seedlings.the poisonous part is good to know-the deer did eat the ones i planted to block out my other neighbors tho.we have heavy clay soil here so it may make a difference in the invasiveness.ask a nursery for any suggestions on the invasive problem.total veg. killer should work-but kills everything around it too.round up should help.maybe there s something else to put on the soil thats not toxic

  14. its not invasive

    It most assuredly IS invasive. THe only reason you might not find it so is if your laurels cause so much shade that the seedlings can’t germinate. Maybe yr soil contributes to them not germinating I don’t know. But I assure you if you plant a laurel in anything like open terrain or near open terrain you’ll have scores, if not hundreds of volunteers a few weeks after it drops its berries. And it will do this every yr.

  15. what state do you live in -im in calif -just under 3000 ft–everyone i know that has it doesnt have an invasive problem–im going to ask a nursery and see what they say about this -they are in the sun-and some of them are only 4′ after 7yrs-but most are getting to be 15′ or more–it has to be the soil.what we have coming up like weeds are ponderosa pines-they seems to like the clay–does anybody know any quick growing tall screens you can use over a septic system?ive planted boxwood and rosemary

  16. I live in WA. near the Puget Sound. English laurel is everywhere here. It must like a wet climate (though we get significant heat & dryness in summer). I wonder whether yr elevation & cold (I’m assuming) winter climate might tone down the laurel’s growing habits somewhat.

    If you want advice about screens you might try Gardenweb. Do you know that site? People there tend to give good advice. Let me know if you need a URL for it.

  17. I love the colour/color of my English laurel! But…

    I think English laurel is a hopeless choice as a hedge for especially smaller town garden in areas with a milder climate and higher rainfall – Just as bad as the local (Vancouver Island) cedars and all but upright conifers, in my humble opinion. It was almost amusing to read about other people and their English laurel hedges! Almost, because I have 60 feet of hedge on the eastern side and 75 feet on the western side of my small property (7000 sq feet) to “maintain”.

    I also have a small landscaping firm and love English laurels because… they give me income!

    Two years ago I asked my neighbour on the eastern side permission to prune the hedge on his side and made it four feet lower as well. He looked extremely relieved and very gladly said “certainly, no objection!” I then realized that for the sake of good neighbourlyness I will have to prune the hedge at least twice a year in future, resrtricting the height to eight feet and the width to two feet. Now my neighbour loves me, greets me and brings me blue berries every year.

    The longer hedge screens out a busy street, little birds like the shelter it provides and a pair of robins loves to nest in it – that is the good part… It was 10 feet wide and 12 feet tall a year ago. One could actually see it on Google Earth! I could not even reach the middle to prune it. I had to take action. I went to the local rental store and got a chainsaw for four hours. Then I cut a stick down to four feet as a gadge and “simply” chainsawed my hedge to four feet width. My significant others thought I lost my mind, but now will have to admit that the English laurel really recovers very well after butchering. It even grows in winter!

    Happy gardening!

  18. I have an old tree (about 40 feet high and wide) at the corner of my driveway and the street sidewalk in front of my house in California. It usually provided a good view and nice shadow to my car especially in sunny summer. However, it is dead. I have to plant another tree, tall, wide, and fast growing, to replace the dead old tree. In this case, do you think English Laurel will be an acceptable plant? Thanks.

  19. Richard, thank you very much for your quick reply and comments about the laurel. I just got home from the weekend vocation.
    I saw two English laurels standing in the city park. They are large and beautiful, with big shade. Because the old large tree, which usually provided a big shade for my driveway, is dead, I just need to grow another big tree to replace the dead one. I don¡¦t mind how tall it grows, but the taller the better, and I don¡¦t care how wide it expends, but the wider the better, because I need its big shade and also its fast growing speed. I do not plant a hedge, but a shade. For this reason, English laurel sounds one for me. For this reason, if I plant an English laurel, I will not trim it except its lower part over the driveway. I will trim it like a doorway. However, the testimonies on the website and the warning from you make me worry about its¡¦ uncontrollable expending. It should be plant by the street. Most lawns on both side of the street are not larger than 800 sqft. If not all but most landlords have their lawns maintained monthly. Will it help to stop the English laurel from expending its territory?
    Which else tree can grow fast and tall with large crown? I live in the Silicon Valley south to San Francisco .
    Thank you again for your kind help.

  20. i live in new jersey. i have had laurels for three years and they grow only a foot or two a year. i know they must be very annoying to you, but here they are not a problem at all. today i was looking at 1 gallon containers and they were $50.00. start selling them online :), maybe that will make you will love them.

  21. bexsoda: It sounds like your laurels may be growing in shade.  Or perhaps your colder winters diminish growth.  Here in Seattle they can grow pretty much yr round since we only get brief freezes.  And the growth is much more in the 3-5 feet a yr range.

    I don’t have a problem w. them as long as they are grown in the right place & for the right reason & by an owner who respects the needs of their neighbors.


  22. I have the laurel hedge from hell. I had it trimmed to 5 feet about 10 years ago. Since it was a rental property and I was absent the thing is now 30′ feet tall and the laterals are huge. I need to whack it. If I want to keep it for privacy can I cut it down to about 3′ x 3′ and leave the laterals that run towards the next trunk so it will close the gaps? Or, if I choose to dig it out how deep do the roots need to be dug in order to make it go away forever. It is a monster! The things has become a huge trellis for blackberries which make trimming a nightmare.

  23. @Brian McNamara: If you trim it back with its vigorous growth I’m guessing it will close the gap. If you cut it down to the ground and cover the stump tightly with thick black plastic bag for several months or a year I believe that should kill it. That’s what I’ve seen folks do in the city park near our home, which is infested w. it. I’ve never dealt w. the roots so I can’t say how deep they go. Given how hardy this thing is I’m guessing taking it out by the roots wouldn’t be easy.

  24. Laurel Hedges:
    We are doubly “blessed”. I have lived in this house for over 30 years and houses on both sides have sold several times. The neighbor to our right have allowed the laurel hedge (planted right on the property line) to grow to over 20′. They refuse to trim so we are stuck with an out of control laurel with trunks 6″ in diameter. It is gangly and sparse on the low end and we are overpowered trying to manage our side of the darn thing.

    On the other side is another laurel planted right on the property line and it has been allowed to grow so high and wide that we can’t see out of our living room window. To make matters worse, there is also a huge laurel hedge facing the street and it is so high and wide that we are unable to see the street, houses across the street from some of our windows. In both cases the owners want their privacy and do not plan on manaaging the hedge at all. Neither are gardners, yard people etc. It is really unfair to allow these hedges to encroach on our property, block our view and greatly impact the growing area in our own yard.

    Not only have these hedges been a huge burden but our relationship with either neighbor is not good because they just don’t care.

  25. In my area one can trim trees or hedges that are on their property. Our neighbors have a gigantic laurel hedge that is a nightmare and we cut our side every year. The think is easily 12-15 feet wide and the suckers come up everywhere. It is a constant battle. They don’t cut their side and it is taller than their house. If a tree is on my property and taking over many feet of it I’m going to trim it!

    We have a friend that got sued because a woman had a fit that he cut the branches off her tree (that were over his driveway). He cut the branches off to tree instead of leaving a stub. In doing so went over her property line a couple feet. He would have been fine if he had only cut the branch back to his property line.

    We planted a dwarf laurel hedge in another area and like it very much. We keep it confined and doing so it doesn’t get out of hand.

    We also live in the Pacific NW

  26. Some great info hear and English Laurels are definitely for me. They will do exactly as I want in blocking out annoying neighbors. If they spread, even better because this means I have to buy less of them.

  27. Richard, we were considering planting some English Laurel along 150 feet of our property between us and the future fire station. We have about 40 feet between our yard and their property. We’re not looking for a trimmed hedge neccessarily but a privacy, noise, pollution screen as they will look down into our pool, yard and daughters bedrooms. The key is that this area is filled with our Oak trees and dips down to a creek. (Which is why our yard is fenced off from that part of our property.) So whatever is planted there needs to able to grow under the canopy of these old Oak Trees and be a fast grower and visually shield our home and yard from the station which will be built on a building pad that sits 10 feet higher than our yard elevation. We’re ideally looking for something that will start shielding at 5 ft and as high as 30 feet. This is at the south of our property. Could you provide a suggestion that might be better for this? I would appreciate any help as we are not thrilled to have the Fire Dept. buy our neighbors home to tear it down to build their dream facility. We live in California in the Bay Area.
    Thanks much.

    1. Actually, I would go to the fire dept. & responsible local agencies & ask them to build a privacy hedge for you on their own adjacent property or else to pay for one you plant on yr property. Let them have the headache & take care of it for you since they’re presumably going to invade yr privacy & also impact the value of yr property.

      1. This was our initial idea too. We tried to do this and they told us they were unwilling to do anything but put up a couple screens (7 ft tall by 4 ft) in a couple stragic places on their side blocking the view into their bedrooms but unfortunately does nothing to protect the our privacy or public access to our property. They put a nice walking path on the plans for the public bordering our property so that they could enjoy the creek and oak canopy. They won’t even put a standard 6 ft fence up on their property line. They are tearing down the one that is existing. Hence our fusteration! We tried to talk to the county agencies who will not force them to address the privacy or depreciation of property value. So we are in search of an economical way to protect our privacy from this fire station of 18 firefighters rotating through 3 shifts and public access. But they said they will be “good neighbors”.

        1. I wouldn’t trust a promise of being a good neighbor as far as I could throw it. You get 18 guys living in a space next door to you full time & who knows how they will behave. Maybe they’ll be decent, maybe they won’t.

          Get yrself a good land use attorney. Then tell the fire department that your lawyer is empowered to negotiate a satisfactory resolution of the dispute for you, and that you’re prepared to go to the local TV station to make your grievance known. Personally, I think you’d have a good case in the court of public opinion. And I doubt they’ll want something like this to go all the way to court. In addition, I’d try to get yr attorney to negotiate conditions for use of the fire station so that it will negatively impact you as little as possible.

          My wife knows the San Francisco city attorney and might be able to help if you need a referral to a good local attorney wherever you live.

  28. are you talking about Privet (Ligustrum) or English Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)? Privet is a nightmare for sure but true English Laurel is not.

  29. Hello and please forgive the following rant!

    I’m one of the bad guys I guess. I’m having a horrible time with the woman who lives behind me, and for completely opposite reasons as our original poster here. 😉

    I live in the Northwest, in a very urban neighborhood that while beautiful (old houses, tree-lined streets, sidewalks, close to downtown), has lots that don’t offer much space between the houses. There is no window that I can look out of that doesn’t look into others’ windows or offer some privacy – except for in the back yard – or at least the potential for privacy is there anyway! There is a very old, well-established laurel hedge that runs along the back of my property. The older people who owned our house before us told me their mother had planted it years ago. It looks very much as though it’s on our property but there’s the chance it’s on the line (haven’t had it surveyed yet; the woman behind me says it’s on the line cause she had some workers measure from an official stick/post that was put in the ground by her front sidewalk when they were putting in a garage and needed to do some zoning-related measuring).

    This neighbor behind me wants the laurel cut down to about, oh, 10 feet or so, and for it to stay there, at that height. Before we moved in 10 years ago, she always kept it short. We’ve allowed her to keep cutting it each year but only cause she acts like a bully and as if she owns the bush and I never had the nerve to ask her to stop cutting it so short, until recently (last few years). She says if it’s tall it blocks her Eastern, morning winter light from her first floor where she paints (she’s an artist). The hedge sits at the back of her back yard (not right up next to her house). She says she likes to see the sun come up between my house and my side neighbor’s house. It’s hard for me cause I’m an artist at heart and I “get it” while at the same time she’s SO hard to deal with and acts very selfish about it. She’s extremely stubborn and uncompromising (I’m willing to compromise) and she talks as if she has this huge sense of entitlement, and in this really whiny, pathetic tone. Yet SO disagreeable at the same time – it’s almost funny – only, not. It’s like the “poor me” thing is just an act…it comes across as so manipulative and like she’s just used to getting her way. I honestly would let her have her way if I myself didn’t have my own issues which to me are – at least I feel – equally valid.

    I love living the urban life and I love my neighbors in general. But let’s face it, it’s noisier and less green than living out in the country. Still, most of my neighbors have a lot more space and see a lot more trees and vegetation. My situation just happens to involve seeing a lot of buildings and a lot less greenery, unfortunately. I’m working on it. While an urban neighborhood was my choice, I yearn for privacy and have an emotional NEED/severe craving for a special place on my property that is just really green and serene and gives me the illusion at least that I’m removed from the rest of the world. I don’t think it’s too much to ask while at the same time I admit it’s almost like some sort of emotional disability! I’m “mental” about this need. It’s like craving coffee in the morning, if any of you can relate. Ok bad metaphor. It’s like craving oxygen, perhaps? 😉 I know my neighbors aren’t staring in at me – they have way better things to do. I wouldn’t even care so much if they did look in and wave on some occasions! But everywhere I look I see houses and windows and cars – and the houses all seem so much taller regardless of whether or not they actually are – and so close to me. While I could move to a different sort of neighborhood, I think compromising by having just one side of my yard be/feel private (and then getting all the amazing, incredible bonuses that come from living close-in near the city), is reasonable. My rear neighbor just has the unfortunate position of being on the side that offers me most of this opportunity – ANY of this opportunity, actually.

    I’ve told her that while I’d like the hedge to be much taller, I’d be willing to compromise on height to some degree (shorter than all the other neighbors’ laurel; we have it all over the block – but taller than 10′ or whatever that lower height is). I really made a big effort on a couple of occasions to come to some mutually beneficial resolution – and even more in her favor than mine, just cause I sort of felt sorry for her since she acts like such a victim I guess! This same woman by the way tore out a quarter to a third of the entire hedge out by the roots when she was having her garage built and the hedge was inconveniencing her workers (she wanted her garage to be wider than all the other garages in the neighborhood – so her garage extended into the back yard – not just the side). So you see it’s always, ALWAYS, all about her and only what she wants. Anyway, she said no — that she needs the hedge to be shorter and isn’t willing to compromise. Then she told me I could plant hops which would die down in the winter and provide her more light. But then where will my meditative nature space (and yes sense of privacy) be in the winter? I don’t just want the hedge for when I’m outside in the summer…I love the green, old English, foggy, other-wordly feeling in the winter, from my windows, too! Doesn’t that make any sense? I could plant more trees on my side but already the laurel takes up so much of the property because as I said before – it’s on my property in every obvious way. I said we could consider taking out the laurel if we both agreed to plant a couple of fast-growing trees and a fence but she said no to that too – that she likes the laurel too much to do that. It just has to all be just so, for her. Already I did plant a quaking aspen tree on my side of the laurel (I was hiding the new ugly garage). She said passive-aggressively that I wouldn’t have survived a day in a city like San Francisco and implied I shouldn’t live in the city, due to my desire for privacy. But I told her it’s not just privacy, and it’s not at ALL about trying to “hide” from HER in particular – it’s also about wanting to see nature in an urban space, instead of a house so close.

    Maybe she is the one who needs to live out in the country if she can’t recognize that neighbors shoved tightly together like this are each going to have their own individual needs and rights. In my opinion it all comes down to facts and legalities at this point since we both have our own opposing but valid viewpoints and preferences/needs, and we’re only going around and around in circles otherwise. She keeps implying I could change instead of her but she could just paint upstairs couldn’t she? God forbid her having to compromise along with me! She’s not elderly (though older than I am) so she could go upstairs – that’s where her bedroom is in fact – and her only sunlight problem is in the morning of the winter. Maybe she could just not paint in the winter – haha. She does also like to look out over the hedge into the trees on the other side of the block on my front side, far into the distance, which I understand but it’s not like it’s a neighborhood with “views” of anything in particular and again, I’m not suggesting it be as high as I’d like – just higher. I’ve been in her house and she has loads of gorgeous trees to look at from all sides, unlike me! I’d love to see the trees in the distance beyond her house, when looking out the windows of my first floor but unfortunately between her tall house and enormous garage I can’t see anything besides her buildings, when the hedge is cut down as low as she’d like.

    Done ranting for now. Go ahead and tell me what you think if I haven’t scared you away with all this writing!

  30. I live in the Pacific Northwest and I agree with what Richard is saying. In fact, I had an English laurel hedge planted last year to replace a line of old Lawson cedars that died off because of our recent hot summers and water restrictions. Over our mild winter and this spring, I’ve been finding hundreds of small seedlings sprouting up in the lawn and surrounding area. I’d never seen these before and hadn’t linked them to the laurel until I read Richards comments. It is a pain to pull these seedlings out of the grass, as if clover and other weeds isn’t enough work.
    But I’d like to know how laurels take to shearing with hedge clippers, rather than hand pruning with loppers?

  31. I have a 100 foot long English Laurel hedge along one boundary of my property. Unlike most of the stories here, it’s never been a problem.

    The first day I moved in, my new neighbor came over. I introduced myself by saying, “Well, how do we share clipping the hedge?” THAT probably got thingsd started off on the right foot!

    Actually the hedge is on my neighbor’s property, but for the remaining ten years of his life we shared hedge clipping between us. Never a problem.

    He was a twice a year clipper, which kept the clipping easy. The hedge was about five feet tall and about three feet wide, and on a slope on my side of the property. That made clipping somewhat difficult to do.

    When my neighbor died, the next year I cut the hedge down to two feet wide and three feet high. The 5×3 size meant 13 feet to clip, while the new size means 8 feet to clip — a substantial reduction in work and it’s easier too because you don’t have to reach so high.

    The house hasn’t been occupied since my neighbor died in 1995 —- so I soldier on clipping by myself. I used to tell his son that his dad haunts me if I don’t clip the hedge “Will, it’s time to clip the hedge. Twice a year, the middle of May and the middle of October”!

    I just got done with another hedge clipping effort, my second, and I just have to clip part of the top to complete the job. Probably a couple hours work with electric hedge clippers.

    Never seen a laurel flower, seed or seedling. I imagine that the twice/year clipping eliminates that as a problem.

  32. I really don’t care if some think it’s an act off aggression… maybe it is. I moved to the country and purchased 4 acres. The people next to me sold out to a developer. My 10 new “neighbors” that border my property are maybe 12 feet from the property line. I can hear their children cough. I can smell their dryer sheets. I know what they are having for dinner…

    We purchased a little farm because we like space and privacy, and here we are, right up next to 27 new neighbors, 10 of them bordering our property. So… up went the laurel for privacy.

    The nursery where we bought the Laurel said: “if you really want fast growing privacy, trim the sides — nothing else. They will become dense and shoot straight up”. They did. Within 2 years I had a nice hedge. Within 4 years I have a beautiful 30 ft. hedge dividing our property line, minus the sight of their (forgive me) ugly track homes. My side is well pruned and shaped, I have no idea what their side looks like and personally, I don’t care. The way I see it is: if you buy a home 12 ft. from someone’s property, you’ll have to live with the natural barrier they put up, regardless of what it does…

    Just saying…

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  33. Maintaining hedges usually means trimming several times per year. If one has that kind of time or money to waste if you hire someone to do the work; knock yourself out. It’s better to find something that’s relatively slim like Pyramidalis but English Laurel? Only if you’ve got the room and don’t mind losing time and gardening area in the process.

    We moved to our new home and noticed the laurel along the fence, roughly 40′ long and was into the yard roughly 20′. We thought we’d address it after we got settled. As it turned out, it was our ‘neighbors’ hedge that had been allowed to spread unabated. Thankfully they removed it but it did force us to make plans for future privacy screening asap.

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  34. Hi, I just put in English Laurel along a side fence for privacy. There are 4 of them, will add a 5th at far end soon. They are in a raised bed that is 6′ -9′ deep – it curves. Adjacent is concrete, deck, and pool. Our house was lifted and leveled when we remodeled at time of purchase, so we are 3 1/2 feet higher than neighbor’s house. We see into their yard unless have good screening. This is in a flat suburban development in Marin county, northern CA. Great neighborhood but neighbors are close. We had huge Leptospermum hedge there but it eventually took tree shape and wasn’t giving screening where we needed it any longer, so took it out.. I love the beauty of the Laurel. I don’t have grass near it. I’m willing to prune it annually and need the great screening. So in that location I am happy with decision. After reading all these posts, I am reconsidering putting it in another area, which is along my back fence, behind the pool. Not a huge yard and the pool butts up to the planting bed which makes it tricky to prune the front of anything there… tops are easy. This back fence borders the neighbor’s side yard so their house is just 6′ behind my back fence! Must have great screening. There are 50 year old pittosporum there, along with adjacent bamboo (20′ high), pyracantha (15′ high) and more bamboo at other end. It’s been great for 15 years but now one of the pittisporum is dying. I had planned to put more bamboo there. But the others will end up dying and then I’ll need more … do not want to end up with a LOT of bamboo…. I think I’d rather have a lot of English Laurel. Ideas? This side gets pretty much full sun. Thanks for any input.

  35. Tamara. You can cut it back to the roots and it will survive. After dealing with it for many years we dug it out and I know I will be dealing with it’s coming up for as long as I live here.

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