When to apply fertiliser to cherry laurels

Written by samantha volz
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When to apply fertiliser to cherry laurels
The cherry laurel is also called the English laurel. (sodapix sodapix/F1online/Getty Images)

Whether you call it the cherry laurel, English laurel or its scientific name Prunus laurocerasus, the beautiful evergreen shrub highlights home gardens with vibrant white flowers and glossy leaves. These shrubs grow extremely quickly, sometimes up to 62.5 cm (25 inches) per year, and require little fertiliser to do so. Properly applying the fertiliser at the right time will ensure good growth without overwhelming the shrub with nutrients.

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When to apply

Cherry laurel trees need fertilising only once per year, since they are naturally strong growers on their own. This fertilising should be done in the autumn, generally in September or October, before the shrub goes dormant but after the majority of the growth is done for the year. This late-season application allows the fertiliser to soak into the soil and penetrate the roots over the course of the dormant season and early spring, leading to a vibrant and healthy bloom the following year.

What to use

For cherry laurels, use granular, slow-release fertiliser to feed these shrubs. Because the ideal method of fertilising is to apply in the autumn for the following year, the granular slow-release fertiliser will gradually soak into the soil and the roots and will release the nutrition into the soil at a reduced rate. This will ensure that the major boost of nutrition needed to promote a strong growth cycle doesn't hit the plant until late winter or early spring, just about time to start new growth.

How to apply

Always wear gloves when handling granular fertiliser, and make sure you wash your hands afterward. Grab a handful of the granulates and spread it out evenly around the base of the plant, starting 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) away from the stem (to avoid burning the bark) and moving outward. Cover the entire area from the starting point to the drip line of the shrub (the little moat-like ditch that forms at the edges of the branches). Make sure the granules aren't double stacked; spread them out in a thin, flat layer.

Other tips

Read specific product instructions for your fertiliser granules. Some will require you water the fertiliser in, meaning that you should water the shrub immediately following application to help the granules begin to dissolve into the soil. Others will simply advise you to let the rain gradually water the granules into the soil. Don't attempt to fertilise your cherry laurel any more than is necessary; excessive fertiliser can result in wilting growth or burnt-out roots from the extra nutrition.

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