The Q&A Archives: Laurel Selection

Question: We would like to select a laurel to form a hedge. Our size criteria will be to keep the hedge at a height of 8' and a depth of 3-1/2'. The hedge would be in full sun in Pasco, Washington. We were concerned about the english laurel's hardiness in our zone and if it would be to large. We thought that a dwarf english laurel would be to small. It appears that a shipka laurel would be adequate size and hardiness, but we weren't sure that it would be dense enough to make a good hedge. Any suggestions?

Answer: Prunus laurocerasus (English Laurel) is hardy in your growing region, most specifically 'Schipkaensis', 'Nana' and 'Otto Luyken'. All grow wider than your specifications, and because of this natural growth habit it will be difficult to keep them at 3 1/2' even with annual pruning. Substitutes you might consider are Abelia grandiflora (glossy abelia), Escallonia, Ilex (holly) or Privet. These are evergreen shrubs and make beautiful hedging screens. An added bonus is that they produce seasonal bloom. All grow well in your area and all are reasonably pest-free. Best wishes with your new hedge!

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