Portuguese Laurel Tree Pruning

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Irish, May 20, 2021.

  1. Irish

    Irish Member

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    I would welcome some advice about pruning my new tree. It is in a planter in a tight space in front of black bamboo. I just planted it 2 weeks ago to make a better screen against my neighbours. I would like it to expand it 4 feet on either side above the bamboo planter and very much want it to be 4 feet higher. I have been reading about how to prune it but I am loathe to get started in case of error. Higher bushiness is what I want. I see that it is just starting to grow some new leaves so I guess unless I am told otherwise I should be pruning it. It hurts to shorten it now but I guess that is what I must do.

    I would appreciate any advice as to how much to take off and where to increase my confidence to go ahead.
     

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  2. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    It looks nice and healthy - and I like the design contrast of bamboo stems and your laurel

    To be clear -
    Is this planted in a plant pot container? Or in a raised bed?

    You want it tall ? (Maximum ____ feet tall)

    And you are hoping for width too — left to right like a fence

    How much DEPTH do you want - in other words, is it (or will it be) sticking out in to the narrow path beside most peoples houses? (The sideyard)

    I used to be at a diff house garden and there was a Portugese Laurel like this that was healthy but had not been specified properly —- yet at this stage, too late, & it was essential for a bedroom window next to neighbor driveway

    In other words - the tall narrow evergreen & fast growing & yet low maintenance affordable solution (hence those cedars we see in every subdivision)

    Anyway - someone waited far too long to maintain the laurel then sheared it with power tools (common these days) and so then there were big gaps in the trunk area - it took a while to fill in - sort of.

    QUESTION - I am unclear Why you wish to prune this right now when you really wish for it to be taller

    Perhaps I have misunderstood your question

    Bottom line - carefully hand clip to keep it from closing in on your house and that typical narrow pathway / side yard in Vancouver & suburbia — and hopefully you won’t end up with big gaping holes like mine did (I put a hanging basket in one of the holes to make it look intentional )
     
  3. Irish

    Irish Member

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    Thank you for your response. It's not in a pot, but in a two foot high planter. We would like the height to be around 12 to 14 feet. It's 8 feet now. We want this to act as a screen so width could be 10 feet or so. There's no problem with sidewalk or sideyard obstruction. We have limited depth at the front so the intent is to make it wide but shallow in depth. We thought we might need to prune it early on to encourage more bushiness and growth. We will be hand clipping each branch always for a somewhat natural look.
     
  4. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    I am no expert on hedges - natural or sheared - I am relating my own experience and observations — but I think you might need another plant or two to make your desired 10 feet width (left to right like a fence)

    Assuming you are NOT waiting for a decade or more!

    Be careful you don’t have any paving or buried utilities (pipes etc) (or overhead wire utilities) where you are planting
    ———
    If you’re creating privacy for Sound from neighbor side, too - there are lots of little electric fountain at big box stores - tho I warn you - fountain small pond must be screened to avoid raccoon damage and - literally - mess.

    I suppose you could unplug and drain a smaller fountain and use only when you want to be on your patio

    that gentle splash trickle sound alleviates the endless repeated trampoline sound etc etc - the usual busy kids having fun outside (which is better than screen time I agree)

    I speak fr experience - the fountain helped as I typed away at work home office ... and busy family next door talk loudly all the time :)
     
  5. Irish

    Irish Member

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    I was thinking that the tree would take some time to be significant. If the tree doubled in width I would be quite happy. It's really just visual privacy I'm after. The neighbours are so loud I can hear them in my house with the door closed!
    The bamboo makes a rustling sound that sort of baffles a bit of their noise.
     

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