Thanks for help here: monster bush needs a trim

Asked March 3, 2018, 7:30 PM EST

Hi folks, I'm ready to cut back my bush and would like your input on when I should employ tools. How low can I go? I don't like getting on a ladder every year to tackle this 14' lovely green lady. Thanks for your help, Julie Forbes

Multnomah County Oregon pruning shrubs horticulture

1 Response

I think the plant is a cherry laurel or English laurel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_laurocerasus) not to be confused with the Carolina laurelcherry (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_caroliniana)

You can prune this plant back really hard but typically doing this in the spring may promote a lot of growth. Depending on your goals and aesthetic, you may want to define the range of height you want for this plant. Also, it looks really bushy, so you could start with some major thinning cuts and removing crossing branches.

I suspect you will need a combination of tools: hand pruners, lopping pruners and a pruning saw.

OSU extension has this brochure on trees https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/ec1438 There is some discussion on pruning techniques and I found this article from Iowa State Extension https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/2003/3-7-2003/pruneshrub.html Some of the timing is different since our climate is milder than Iowa, but the gist is about the same. You can treat it as a small, multi-stem tree.

This is a really tough plant and it may take a year or two to shape it, but generally these plants need annual or biennial attention to manage them.