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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?


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


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


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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