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How to prune laurel bushes

As with other evergreen plants, laurel bushes continue to grow throughout the year, though the flowers on laurel bushes appear only during the spring and summer growing season. Although laurel bushes are sturdy plants that do not generally require much pruning in order to have a healthy growth, if you have laurel bushes in your landscape, you can help maintain their appearance through occasional pruning.

Begin pruning laurel bushes after the first growing season. Laurel bushes require one full growing season to establish their roots, which are necessary for the plants to fully recover from pruning. Once the leaves begin forming on a laurel bush, the plant is established well enough for pruning.

Pull off the flowers as they die at the end of the season. Hold onto the branch with one hand to prevent the bush from bending as you pull off the flowers.

Perform any heavy pruning in the late winter to early spring before the main growing season. Trim all the branches of a laurel bush back to a height of only 65 to 130 cm (2 to 4) feet without harming the plant. Once it's cut back, a laurel bush will recover in two or three years.

Trim back any branch on the laurel bush where you want to encourage new growth. To create a new shoot on the plant, cut the branch so that only two to three leaves remain on the branch. This method can be used to form the shape of the laurel bush.

Tip

Shape laurel bushes into an "A" shape to allow for the best airflow through the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs
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About the Author

Alexis Lawrence is a freelance writer, filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. An avid traveler, Lawrence has visited at least 10 cities on each inhabitable continent. She has attended several universities and holds a Bachelor of Science in English.