Lauren of Mom Home Guide
Lauren of Mom Home Guide
  • Hometalker
  • Hightstown, NJ
Asked on Jun 12, 2013

Do Laurel Bushes Prefer Sun or Shade?

Bar30134552Lauren of Mom Home GuideDouglas Hunt
+8

Answered

Hi! I planted some schip laurels (Prunus laurocerasus 'Schipkaensis' ) along the chain link fence in my backyard (the fence separates my backyard from a school playground) for some much needed privacy. The bushes are shaded somewhat by some deciduous trees in my backyard. I've noticed that the bushes that get more sun seem to be faring better than the ones that are more shaded. I am confused because I thought the laurels like shade. I am wondering if I should trim the tree branches (they are reaching toward the house anyway) so the laurels can get more sun. (I used to have a tarp on the fence -- which faces west -- but that came down during the hurricane last fall. The house blocks much of the eastern sun for the laurels.) I would love your suggestions! My laurels also got "shot hole," I think, over the winter, but they are doing better now and have some new growth on them.
This is an earlier photo of my laurels -- a few of them are a lot more thinner now.
This is an earlier photo of my laurels -- a few of them are a lot more thinner now.
11 answers
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on Jun 12, 2013

    The ones closer to the trees are probably not getting as much water as the ones away from the tree (and shade), because they are having to compete with the bigger tree with more roots for the water. Not sure about the shade vs. sun in your zone. Our Laurels here do perform better with some afternoon /part shade. I think this may be more of a nutrition/water issue for your Laurels. Did you amend the soil when you planted them or have you fertilized them? How long have they been in the ground?

  • Lauren of Mom Home Guide
    on Jun 12, 2013

    I planted them about two years ago and have used fertilizer spikes in the fall. But I think the soil is pretty poor. Perhaps I should add some soil amendments and some mulch. Thanks for your input, Donna!

  • Sow and Dipity
    on Jun 12, 2013

    I've seen laurels perform just fine in full sun, but I'm in Canada and we have cooler temps. I think they'd benefit from a top dressing of good organic compost as Donna suggests.

  • Lauren of Mom Home Guide
    on Jun 12, 2013

    I think I'll be adding some compost with perhaps some mulch on top -- thanks, Shelley!

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jun 13, 2013

    Lauren, the spikes may be convenient but they're not a great way to fertilize. There's little actual fertilizer in them and there tends to be a lot of salt in the binding agent. Better to use a good slow-release fertilizer that you can broadcast all around the root zone.

  • Lauren of Mom Home Guide
    on Jun 17, 2013

    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas. I am still wondering if I should trim the trees to give the laurels more Sun. Thanks!

  • Irish Birdie
    on Aug 10, 2014

    Having a similar argument with my hubby over Otto Luyken English laurels. I see them growing in rather deep shade in Atlanta, but he thinks they like full sun. Probably a little of both. but most mountain laurels do not tolerate over fertilizing...

  • Lauren of Mom Home Guide
    on Aug 10, 2014

    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Aug 11, 2014

    There is a difference between tolerating shade and preferring it. Lauren, how are you plants faring now?

  • Lauren of Mom Home Guide
    on Aug 11, 2014

    They are doing ok, but the plants on the sides ( the ones not blocked to the east by our house) are doing better than the ones directly behind our patio, which is where we want the privacy. In the winter some of the bushes get holes in their leaves, lose their leaves and are kind of spindly. Thanks for asking!

  • Bar30134552
    on Oct 30, 2017

    A little of both.
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