19 May 2022

Jo on the benefits and variety in hedging plants of Laurel, Portuguese Laurel and 'Red Robin'

Hedging part one: Laurel, Protugeses Laurel and 'Red Robin'

Jo of Caragh Nurseries on the benefits and variety in hedging plants  of Laurel, Protugeses Laurel and 'Red Robin'

Photinia-Red-Robin hedging

Let's peruse your options for hedging.

On the nursery, we have so many different hedging options and each of them work in different ways for your needs. At this stage in the year when we only have another 4 weeks remaining of the bare-root season, here is a no-nonsense guide to help you choose which hedging will work for you without the jargon and botanical descriptions that mean very little to most people. (The days of people doing Latin as a school subject are almost over, although one lady and former teacher I know will be horrified to hear me say this – sorry, Ann!).

I’m going to split this up into Evergreen and deciduous (loses its leaves in Autumn/Winter) options to keep it simple.

Portuguese laurel hedge

Evergreen Hedging

Laurel hedging, botanical names Prunus laurocerasus, Prunus laurocerasus ‘Rotundifolia’; also known as cherry Laurel and common laurel. Laurel hedging offers the following benefits:

Fast-growing – the Fastest growing hedging plant if you don’t want a conifer
Evergreen Growth in a good year  up to 60cm (2ft) per year
Least expensive non-conifer, evergreen hedging plant
The best hedging plant for shady sites
Tough, not fussy about soil & Hardy
Available in larger, more mature sizes

Eventual height if let up to 6m (18ft) tall Hardy, will survive at temps down to -20°C

Laurel is the quickest growing evergreen hedging plant that isn't a conifer and is definitely the quickest and cheapest way of creating an evergreen hedge.  Laurels will also provide the most instant hedging as the mature sizes, are bushy and can often create an instant screen when planted close enough.  Laurel hedges are dense and so provide a screen that you can’t see through.

Laurel leaves are rounded, glossy and bright green leaves and look good all year round.  They can be trimmed into a neat solid shape or they can create a less formal looking hedge. You will need to trim a Laurel Hedge at least once a year which can be seen as a con but then you can’t have everything!

Best of the offers for Laurel hedging

Laurel hedging Rootballed 120-150cm (4-5ft) €30.00 each (planted 2 to the metre)

Laurel Hedging Rootballed 175-200cm (6-7ft) €85.00 each (planted 1.5 to the metre)

Portuguese Laurel

Botanical name: Prunus lusitanica or Prunus lusitanica ‘Angustifolia’

Portuguese Laurel Hedging offers hedging that is:

Neat and tidy formal appearance
Fragrant white flowers and attractive red stems
Growth in a good year 45cm (18in) per year Available in larger more mature sizes Needs less maintenance than some of the really fast growing options Not too fussy about soil but doesn’t like being waterlogged or in boggy ground Eventual height if let, up to 6m (18ft) Hardy to -20°C

Portuguese Laurel has a deep green leaf that is much smaller & less glossy than the leaf of the common Laurel. It is medium to fast growing although not as quick growing as Cherry Laurel. The stems are red when young and this contrasts well with the dark green leaves and adds interest. It forms an excellent evergreen garden hedge and can be kept to any shape or size.  It is easy to maintain and keep it looking neat and tidy

Best of the offers for Portuguese Laurel

Portuguese laurel Rootballed 60-80cm (2-3ft) €14.00 (planted 3 to the metre)

Portuguese laurel Rootballed 80-100cm (2.5 -3.5ft) €17.50 (planted 2.5 to the metre)

Photinia ‘Red Robin’

Botanical name: Photinia x fraseri ; also known as ‘Red Robin’

The Good news about Photinia Red Robin Brilliant red young leaves especially in spring giving a colour boost
Fast-growing hedging plant
Evergreen hedging Speed of growth under ideal conditions: 60cm (2ft) per year Will grow in any free-draining soil Doesn’t mind shady positions Eventual height if let up to 4-5m (12-15ft) Hardy to -15°C

Photinia Red Robin is a popular, fast-growing, evergreen hedging plant that makes an attractive garden hedge with pruning, it will have more gaps if left untrimmed. It has bright red, young leaves in early spring and, if it is trimmed in late spring or early summer, it will produce more red shoots in summer. Photinia needs to be trimmed regularly (twice a year) to keep it dense.

I will continue this column on hedging next week so you can decide on an ever wider selection of hedging – JO. Check out my column every week in the Kildare Post, 10,000 copies delivered across Co Kildare, free of charge

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