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Before we moved to the Cariboo, we lived on the ocean. We built a cottage, landscaped the property and basically went crabbing every afternoon. Since I have always loved to garden, I was delighted to have a blank canvas to work with when it came to landscaping.
So. Much. Fun! And we figured out a way to put in a hedge basically for free. Here’s how to grow a Laurel hedge from cuttings.
How to Grow a Laurel Hedge from Cuttings
Here’s how we started a hedge along the road perimeter of our lot. I am always looking to do things the cheap (or free) way and love being creative when it comes to gardening.
We found someone with a Laurel hedge and offered to trim it for them. For free, of course. And we would take away the clippings. They were delighted And so were we!
Once we got their hedge dealt with, we loaded up the trimmings. We only needed a small amount really in order to start our own hedge. So we took the excess off to the compost pile at the landfill and brought the rest home.
Preparing a Nursery Bed for Shrub Cuttings
To me there is not point in preparing the whole hedge planting area, so it is ready to receive the cuttings.
I used a nursery bed; it makes it a lot easier for the first year.
A nursery bed is just an area (say 6 x 8 feet) to hold your cuttings for the short term. Let them live close together in a small bed and it makes life easier for you.
You can water it faster and keep an eye on the cuttings much easier. So get your nursery bed dug, fertilized and raked before going to trim that friends hedge.
Make sure your bed is watered well right before planting your cuttings.
How Important is Rooting Hormone?
Rooting hormone is pretty important; I wouldn’t even try rooting cuttings without using rooting hormone. This is the rooting product we used when we started the laurel hedge. Rootech is available on Amazon and at some garden centers.
Pssst…did you know you can make your own rooting hormone using willow?
How to Take a Cutting from a Shrub
There are really only a couple things you need to know in order to properly take a cutting from a shrub.
- Do it in the spring when the plant is in bud.
- Use sharp pruning shears.
- Find a new bud on a stem and make an angled cut below the bud.
- Immediately dip the cut end into the rooting hormone.
- Immediately plant it. You don’t need to dig a hole; your nursery bed should have soft soil ready. Just stick the cutting in the hole and tamp the soil.
- Water your nursery bed just like you water your other flower beds. Let the Laurel cuttings grow there until the Fall (if they are really putting on growth) or until the following Spring.
Note: When you dip the cutting into the rooting hormone, really dunk it good. Don’t just use a little bit.
Get a nice thick blob of hormone sticking to the cutting. Take a look at the photo to get an idea of what I mean.
Prepping your Hedge Line for the Cuttings
OK, fast forward to planting time. You’ve given your cuttings several months to get settled and then get established. They’ve grown a bit and you are ready to get your hedge done.
Run a string line along where you want your hedge planted. Once you know your outside and inside lines for the hedgerow, add lots of great compost or soil.
There is a lot going on in this photo. But check out that hedge line that is happening up close to the road – that’s where the Laurel hedge is going to be planted. There’s lots of great soil placed there, waiting for the cuttings.
That edging can be a bugger to work with; on a sunny day, unroll it and weight down the ends. This will help it lay flat.
We also still needed to cut down the pipes in the yard; we had just had our services finished being installed.
I put a few temporary posts in and added some caution tape on the road side of the hedge. I didn’t want dogs or vehicles too close to the Laurel. Then I laid down black plastic in order to keep any weeds down.
Planting the Laurel Hedge from Cuttings
When you grow a Laurel hedge from cuttings, you will need to decide how far apart you want to space the plants.
I made an X in the plastic every six inches. NOTE: My thinking was to plant close together, wait to see how many survived and grew, then cut down every second one. Does that make sense?
I wanted to make sure we would have a thick hedge. And we had lots of cuttings, well over 100 of them. If you don’t have as many cuttings, just place the plants farther apart.
Once I had the X cut in, I planted the cutting. After planting the whole row, we lay down the soaker hose and then added a layer of bark mulch.
And see how healthy those Laurel cuttings look! How much would each one of these cost in a store if you had to buy them? Free is always good!
Growth of a Laurel Hedge the first year after planting
That photo just above was taken on April 1. Here’s what some of the cuttings looked like just one month later.
Look at the new growth spurting forth! Those cuttings are obviously loving where they have been planted. They are getting regular watering and are settling right in to their new home.
By July, we hadn’t lost any of the plants and there was new growth on all of them. The soaker hose lays underneath the mulch.
Fast forward about 7 years…are you ready for a photo of this hedge? We went by the old place and took photos.
Looks to me like it needs a really good trimming. You can see the growth over the years – the plants had filled the hedge line in 2 years and then just continued growing.
We did remove every second plant to allow enough room for the remaining Laurel plants to grow together. We did this in their third year.
We’re glad we planted so tightly – so much better than trying to fill in empty spaces a few years later.
Planting a hedge on your road side is a great way to provide privacy without having to pay thousands of dollars for fencing. It’s a great option to keep in mind when landscaping.
Try to grow a laurel hedge from cuttings – you will be surprised at how well they grow. And you will be pleased with how much money you can save!
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