Answer: You can prune but do it with caution. If you prune back to bare wood, English laurels will not develop new growth. It is best to prune lightly every spring so new growth will develop and keep the shrubs full and bushy. Pruning back by a foot may be too much for your shrubs and they may not recover. Start pruning back by only a few inches, to promote healthy new growth. If your shrubs develop new leaves toward the center of the plant, you can continue to prune annually, taking off a little more each time and eventually you'll have a thick and bushy shrub. If they do not develop new growth in the center after you've pruned, you may have to leave them at their current width, trimming only slightly each spring to maintain thick growth at the ends of the branches.
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