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Pruning cherry laurel in the garden: tips on when and how to properly prune the popular hedge plant

Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) is without question one of the most popular hedge plants . And if you read “hedge”, you will realize that it is also accompanied by regular topiary. Some hedge plants tolerate pruning without problems and even radical and at almost any time, others are a little more sensitive. What is the situation with the cherry laurel? When can you cut the cherry laurel, what is the best way to prune it and can it be a radical cut? We summarize the most important facts!

When to cut the cherry laurel?

When to cut cherry laurel to get an opaque hedge

You should regularly prune the cherry laurel to make it dense. This will accelerate the growth of the hedge plant, so you can enjoy a more quickly opaque hedge. In addition, pruning gives the hedge a beautiful shape , which not only makes it more attractive, but also guarantees that sufficient light can penetrate even into the interior, so that the plant grows densely there.

Pruning cherry laurel in the garden - in February, radical pruning is possible

Now this does not mean that you can randomly prune it at any time. So, when is it allowed to cut cherry laurel or at what time of the year can you cut the cherry laurel? Since the plant grows very quickly (a whole 20 to 40 cm per year), it must also be kept under control with regular pruning. And this is necessary even for the young plant. Then you may also quite carelessly cut your cherry laurel radically.

Pruning cherry laurel when – what times of the year are ideal?

Prune cherry laurel properly for an opaque hedge in a short time

The ideal period is from late winter to early spring, i.e. from mid to late February . From March and until October, radical cuts are prohibited in Germany due to nesting birds. So do not wait too long. It is important that you also choose a frost-free period. After all, if you cut the cherry laurel during frost, it will damage the cuts.

A second, lighter pruning can be done at the end of June, when the flowering period is over. If you cut the cherry laurel after flowering, the nesting birds should already have fledged. Nevertheless, proceed with caution when doing so.

What about the fall?

Planting fast growing hedge with cherry laurels in the garden


Many garden plants are pruned at the end of the gardening season. This probably makes you ask the question “Is it okay to cut cherry laurel in the fall?”. Yes, you may prune it even at this time of year if you feel it is necessary. However, usually this is unnecessary if you have already taken care of it at the other two times.

However, autumn is the right time for a light pruning in a particular situation, and this also leads us to the frequently asked question: when to cut cherry laurel, so that fruit is not formed? Immediately after flowering, the shrub also begins to put on the buds for the coming year. Therefore, if you cut the plants in the fall, you prevent the formation of flowers in the next season, which, of course, can not produce berries. These are poisonous to both humans and animals.

Is winter pruning possible?

Beginner suitable hedge plant with fast growth for privacy protection

Avoid pruning in the winter. Firstly, this is completely unnecessary, considering that, in principle, you have the whole year at your disposal. If you prune the cherry laurel in winter, especially when temperatures are below 5 degrees, you risk severe frost damage.

Pruning cherry laurel correctly

Radically cut cherry laurel or just prune - when what is appropriate?


First of all, to begin with, if the cherry laurel stands as a solitary plant, it does not necessarily need to be cut. Pruning in this case is necessary only when there is a lack of space and it would otherwise be a nuisance. Also, if you want to shape it in a certain way, the specimen plant needs regular pruning. So, otherwise, you only need to cut the cherry laurel in the form of a hedge, and this as follows:

How to cut cherry laurel?

The berries are poisonous and can be avoided by proper pruning

By and large, you do not need to worry about pruning the cherry laurel. Since the plant is extremely tolerant of pruning, feel free to take a bold approach. When pruning the cherry laurel, take your cue from the new growth: it is recommended that you shorten it to about half (in February and/or late June). To encourage compaction, again shorten the old shoots (in February).

Tips on how to cut hedge plants straight with string

To ensure that the hedge is also straight, you can string a line to guide you. It is also important that the plants become narrower towards the top. Only in this way can the lower leaves also receive sufficient sunlight, and the risk of branches breaking off due to snow in winter is greatly reduced. Be sure to wear protective gloves when cutting cherry laurel, as it is poisonous and can cause skin irritation.

With what scissors cut cherry laurel.

How and when to cut cherry laurel - At what time of year and with what

Using electric shears is just tempting, especially if it is a fairly long hedge. However, we do not recommend it, because the cherry laurel has large leaves and they will be shredded by the device. These shredded leaves sometimes turn brown and remain for a long time, because it is an evergreen plant. And this simply does not look nice. Therefore, it is better to use the classic hand shears when cutting the cherry laurel. Always cut the shoot just above the leaf base.

The correct pruning for diseases

Cut cherry laurel after flowering in June

Powdery mildew and shotgun blight are two diseases to which the plant is susceptible. The first thing you should do when you notice a disease is to remove the affected shoots. Do not be too sparing with this. Radical pruning is definitely a good idea here. If the infestation is very advanced and the damage from it is very severe, pruning down to the cane is also an option. Immediately dispose of the cut off diseased parts of the plant. You can also remove damage caused by frost by generously pruning your cherry laurel.