Laurel as mulch

Asked November 5, 2019, 6:38 PM EST

Can chipped laurel hedge be safely used as mulch in in the landscape garden? Does it affect native ground covers or native shrubs?

Washington County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for your question. I don’t know which laurel variety you have (of the Prunus species). But, unlike members of the walnut tree species (juglans), laurel species do not have a chemical which is toxic to other plants—just animals (https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/prunus-laurocerasus/) So, you can safely use laurel hedge as a mulch, but be sure neither you nor your pets consume it. And, don’t get any mulch too close to trunks and stems, or fungi and bacteria can harm the plant. Also, do not pile it up over 2-3 inches, or it will keep water (when we get some), from reaching the roots. Most ground covers do not need mulch. The plant tissue provides its own mulching traits. As for native shrubs, if Mother Nature has supplied it in forests and other environments, it will work in your garden. Decomposition that occurs naturally will return nutrients to the soil to eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers. Good luck!