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I have a 16m long, very old, common Laurel hedge which I have cut back to 2m high and right back to the stems, which are 6" thick in places.  I now look out on bare stems and branches but I know that Laurel grows from old wood so my question is, is it best to wait for this 'renovated' hedge to green up or dig it out and replant?

nutcutlet

If I was going to cut a laurel back to no leaves I'd cut it back to base in spring. I've had trouble with further die back from cutting higher up.

I should have said that I have only cut back one side of he hedge, the side that faces next door is still green.

I don't really want to cut it down to the base as I need to retain a visual barrier to the house next door

nutcutlet

There's an excellent book called 'Rejuvenating a Garden' by Stephen Alderton'. He recommends your half at a time method. 

If you do find any branches developing yellow/brown leaves and dying back next year, cut them out before it spreads. I didn't take action quickly enough.

You're not likely to kill it. We re-chopped one that had got a lot of die back, right back to base, this spring. It's already a metre high.

Digging out would be a major job and new plants take a lot longer to achieve a barrier

Bookertoo

17 years ago, when we moved into this house, I chopped to ground level a laurel hedge that I wanted to get rid of.  As it was sandwiched between a roadside wall and a tarmac drive I could not dig out the roots.  This year has been the first year that I have not found any shoots of it - yet!  So, no, you can't kill it like that, though your pruning may have been al little ferocious.  Wait, all will be green again in due course. 

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