How to prune laurel shrubs

Written by bailey shoemaker richards
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How to prune laurel shrubs
Spurge laurel is a European native that has become a woodland weed. (Dynamic Graphics Group/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images)

Laurel shrubs are often used by gardeners and landscapers to create a decorative or informal hedge around a property. Their natural size and shape make them good shrubs to use as hedge shrubs, and their appearance makes them a visually attractive addition to any garden. Laurel shrubs require little extra care beyond regular pruning, but pruning is a necessary element of growing laurel shrubs. Their hardy and fast-growing nature makes them require annual trimming and pruning.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Thread
  • Pruning shears

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  1. 1

    Wear garden gloves when pruning laurel shrubs. That will help you avoid injury and make it easier to examine branches and stems.

  2. 2

    Prune laurel shrubs in early spring. Wait until after the last frost to avoid exposing newly cut branches to freezing temperatures, but prune the shrubs before they produce leaf buds.

  3. 3

    Mark branches that have died or show signs of damage, such as broken portions, indicators of insect damage or disease. Use a piece of thread to mark the damaged or sick branches.

  4. 4

    Mark straggling, drooping or out-of-place branches that interfere with each laurel's shape or that make it too big for the lawn. Use a piece of thread to mark those branches.

  5. 5

    Cut off all of the sick, dead and damaged branches. Use pruning shears to remove the branches all the way back to the stem of each plant. This will prevent them from spreading illness or rot to the rest of the shrub.

  6. 6

    Shape each laurel shrub by cutting the remaining branches so that the laurel has an even appearance. Cut all of the branches so that they are the same length.

  7. 7

    Dispose of the cut branches.

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