5 Ways To Top Big Laurel Hedges In Victoria, BC

5 Ways To Top Big Laurel Hedges In Victoria, BC

Five ways to effectively top and maintain big laurel hedges

5 Ways To Top Big Laurel Hedges In Victoria, BC

Topping big laurel hedges in Victoria, BC, requires careful consideration to ensure the health of the plants and the aesthetics of your garden. Laurel hedges are vigorous growers and can create dense, lush screens when maintained properly. Here are five ways to effectively top and maintain big laurel hedges:

1. Choose the Right Time of Year

  • Ideal Timing: The best time to prune laurel hedges in Victoria is late winter or early spring, just before the new growth begins. This timing minimizes stress on the plants and allows for vigorous spring growth.
  • Avoiding Nesting Season: Also, consider local wildlife and try to avoid pruning during bird nesting season to protect local ecosystems.

2. Use the Proper Tools

  • Sharp Tools: Ensure your pruning tools (hand pruners, loppers, and hedge trimmers) are sharp and clean. This makes the work easier and helps prevent the spread of disease.
  • Safety Gear: For big hedges, you may need a sturdy ladder and safety gear like gloves and eye protection. Ensure any ladder use follows safety guidelines to prevent accidents.

3. Plan Your Cut

  • Height and Shape: Decide on the desired final height and shape of your hedge before you start cutting. Remember that laurels can tolerate heavy pruning, but it's best to avoid removing more than one-third of the plant's height in a single pruning session to reduce stress.
  • Gradual Reduction: If a significant height reduction is needed, consider spreading the work over two to three years to allow the hedge to recover between prunings.

4. Technique for Topping

  • Straight Top: For a formal look, use stakes and string to create a guide line ensuring a straight, level top. Prune along this line. Hand shears can provide more control for a clean cut on large laurel leaves, which can look ragged if cut with electric hedge trimmers.
  • Rounded Top: For a more natural look, freehand the cuts to create a gently rounded top. This can help the hedge catch less wind and may be more resilient in stormy weather.

5. Aftercare

  • Water and Mulch: After pruning, water your laurel hedge deeply, especially if the weather is dry. Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base can help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  • Fertilizing: Feed your laurel hedge with a balanced fertilizer after pruning to encourage healthy new growth. Ensure any fertilizer used is suitable for laurels and applied according to package instructions.

Bonus Tip: Regeneration Pruning

  • If your laurel hedge has become too tall or dense, consider regeneration pruning. This involves removing a few of the oldest stems at the base every year, encouraging fresh growth from the bottom. This can rejuvenate an old hedge without the drastic impact of topping.


Topping big laurel hedges in Victoria, BC, should be done with care to ensure the health of the hedge and the desired appearance. Regular maintenance, proper timing, and aftercare following pruning can keep your laurel hedges looking their best year after year.


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