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I am having 94 Laylandai trees cut down (yes, 94!) and the stumps removed. I want to replace them with a laural hedge. Do I have to wait for the ground to recover or can I plant them now in November/ Decembe or should I wait until spring. I live in the south so we don't get sever winter weather. As this is going to be a very, very expensive exercise, I don't want to get it wrong and plant the new bushes if they aren't going to survive!
Any advice will be gratefully received
You need to get some compost, well rotted manure ...something....in the ground before you replant anything. Add good organic fertiliser too. And use a myccorrhizal powder too to encourage rooting.
Despite being sheltered there I would also erect a temporary windbreak mesh on at least the more exposed exposed side but preferably on both sides
Good luck and enjoy your new hedge
Leylandii are greedy trees so once the stumps have gone dig in a trailerload or three of well rotted farmyard manure. Digging over the area will also allow winter rains to penetrate the soil, as it will be very dry where the trees have been. You can then plant your hedge anytime this winter as long as the ground isn't frozen.
Don't make the mistake of buying plants that are too big. They will get rocked about in the winter winds and then water will get in around the roots and freeze and the roots may suffer rot damage. Smaller plants will suffer less from wind damage and the roots will establish better in the spring as they don't have a big area of leaves to support. They won't put on a lot of top growth in the first year as the roots will be establishing, but the following year they'll begin to grow away nicely.
A top dressing of fish, blood and bone in the spring will be good for them, and mulching with something that will help retain moisture around the roots through the summer will be good - more well rotted FYM, compost or leaf mould will be fine but keep the area immediately around the stems clear.
Oh, and don't forget to keep the bottom of the hedge clear of weeds and grass - it's amazing the difference it makes to the rate of growth of the hedge.
Good luck - that's a big job you've got on - hope there's someone around to help
That mesh windbreak is a very good idea !!!
Why, thank you Dove
Same as above, but when you plant, its good to pick out the middle growing tips, this will make them shoot out from the bottom or you will get one tall spindly plant. I planted a row of these in december 2011 , they were 2ft tall bare roots, very cheap, they are now 4ft tall and as wide.
I agree with Lyn but more so. You need to repeat the tip removal regularly to achieve bushyness, otherwise it gets tall and 'see-through'. In it's way it's as much of a bully as leylandii. Not quite as tall but wider.
The other down to laurel is that you have to prune it with secateurs rather than a hedgetrimmer or you get brown edges to the half leaves. But you do need to keep it trimmed because it can sulk if you get to the point of cutting into old wood, not always but enoiugh to be a nuisance.
Such helpful advice from you all - thank you SO much!
Have you thought of a native hedge? Sloe, hawthorn, field maple etc. They are berried, good for humans and wild life. You can plant in those tree protector tubes.
We inherited a laurel down each side of our garden, not a pretty hedge and not easy to cut. We pruned by hand and it only had a couple of blackbird nests. We cut it back and hubby dug out the roots. Hard work but worth it. We put up bird boxes and climbing plants on the fence that was behind and have tits, wrens and robins nesting.
The conifer hedge we inherited at the bottom of the garden hubby cut back to 6ft from 30ft. That is a much better backdrop for my plants and much easier to cut with the hedge trimmer. It is beginning to brown so we are thinking we may have to remove it eventually and will replace with a mixed native hedge.
Thank you greenfingers47. I think I will have laurel where the laylandai are and your brilliant suggestion of a native hedge at the bottom of the garden. Many thanks.