The Best Time to Transplant an English Laurel

English laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) is an evergreen shrub or tree that’s a fast-grower, reaching a height of 15 to 30 feet when mature. It does well as a single specimen or implanted in a row to form a hedge. This really is a smog-tolerant plant that thrives in slightly inland coastal locations and grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9. If you need to transplant a English laurel, selecting a good time and supplying a bit of extra care before and after the transfer can see to it that the plant remains healthy in its site.

Transplanting in Early Spring

Though it’s an evergreen and doesn’t become fully dormant, the English laurel slows its growth during cool winter weather and becomes semi-dormant during these weeks. It’s best to transfer the plant in early spring, once soil temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Do this while the laurel’s still partly inactive but poised to put out fresh roots and top growth — if you analyze dormant buds on several twigs, you’ll notice that they haven’t yet started to swell or show green. Choose a day once the plant’s not stressed from dry weather and the soil is moist. If it’s a massive specimen, run a length of soft twine outside around the plant’s branches, then tying them securely to avoid damaging them during the move.

Tranplanting in Autumn

If your region is in a warmer part of this English laurel’s scope, such as USDA zone 9 and over where frosts are rare and the ground doesn’t freeze in winter, soil temperatures are probably warm enough year round to support root development. In these areas, it is possible to transplant a laurel from the fall and the plant will put out fresh roots during winter. Transplanting in fall also helps the tree prevent the stress of summer heat that a spring-transplanted laurel can encounter soon after it’s moved. If you transfer a laurel from the fall, spreading a 4- to 6-inch thick layer of organic mulch below the plant’s canopy then it’s moved can warm its origins and encourage development of new roots.

Some Preparation Helps

If you have some time before you intend to transfer a laurel, provide the plant some extra attention to help prepare it. Keep it well-watered throughout the season before you transplant, ensuring that it receives at least 1 inch of water weekly, like rain. It also helps to maintain the plant mapped exactly the exact same way after you transfer the laurel to its place — mark a branch that faces north and keep this side toward north in the new site. It’s also very important to keep it at precisely the exact same depth in its new place, to avoid suffocation or drying from origins from planting too deep or too shallow, respectively. Use white paint or weatherproof tape to mark the original soil line on several large branches — make certain that these marks can also be at the ground line following transplanting.

Giving Good Aftercare

After you’ve transplanted a English laurel, keep it well watered, especially during the first few weeks — watch for any wilting of foliage, a sign that it’s not getting enough moisture. Check the top two or three inches of soil regularly and water when it’s dry to the touch, using a soaker hose positioned near the dripline — let water soak till the top 6 inches of soil are moist. If your area will be windy, protecting the plant for its first time with a burlap screen attached to posts driven into the ground around the windy side can help prevent excessive water loss through the foliage. Maintain the laurel well-mulched, but pull mulch away from the lower branches to prevent fungal issues.

See related