Laurentia is an evergreen shrub that makes a fun garden decoration all year round. It has many interesting varieties, the main difference being the shape, size and hardiness of the leaves. The laurel shrub can be grown alone in groups.
What does laurel look like? - Characteristics
This shrub is found in the wild in southern Europe, the Caucasus and Asia Minor - it can reach up to 10 m in height. It grows best in western Poland and does not need to be covered for winter, but can reach up to 4 m in length. However, it is still impressive - its year-round decoration is hard leaves, some varieties reaching up to 15 cm in length. Beautiful white flowers bloom in May and are fragrant. The ripe fruits are round and black, but they are rarely found in our conditions.
Where to plant laurel?
The requirements of laurel for sites are not particularly high. It grows in sunny, semi-shaded and shady places. Only in the shade of tall trees did it like it very much. In very cold regions, laurel leaves should be planted in a well-ventilated place and shade, otherwise the winter sun will damage the leaves. The presence of other trees is not a problem - they can compete, putting out deep laurel roots even among the dense tangles of birch or the common maple root system.
As for the soil, there are no special conditions for laurel shrubs either. It prefers humus and rich clay soils, but it also grows easily in moderately dry, sandy soils. Here it is more resistant to frost, because the annual shoots in autumn lignify more quickly. There are also no restrictions on pH, the soil can be moderately acidic or alkaline. On the other hand, it does not tolerate compacted soils, which tend to accumulate water. Moderate defoliation is the first warning sign of unfavorable soil conditions.
How to care for laurel?
Laurel requires abundant watering throughout the growing season, and the soil should be constantly moist. The ground around the laurel leaves should be covered, which will further prevent evaporation of moisture from the soil. It will also reduce weed overgrowth and provide additional root protection from frost. It is best to use composted bark for mulch. Laurels are evergreen species that suffer from physiological drought - especially in winter, when plants cannot be watered because the soil freezes. Therefore, laurel plants should be watered abundantly before the onset of frost and in the spring, when the frosts subside. Oriental laurel is best fertilized with organic fertilizer - compost. When using it, there is no risk of over-fertilizing the plants. We can also apply multi-nutrient mineral fertilizers in spring and early summer (the last dose in July). Laurel shrubs are well-cut and are great for forming hedges, as well as for creating geometric shapes. Trim these plants after flowering (from June to mid-July). When pruning, be careful not to damage the leaves - they will begin to turn brown and shrivel at the point of cutting and are more susceptible to disease. Every spring we also cut off freeze shoots.
What to fertilize the laurel tree with?
It is worth composting, i.e. organic matter formed in the process of decomposition of plant waste (vegetable and fruit scraps, twigs, leaves or cut grass). The above measures provide the soil with many micro and macro elements. It fertilizes and aerates. As a result, it improves plant growth. At the same time, it does not negatively affect the environment. It does not pollute the water, does not harm the animals living in the area or the laurel trees themselves. There is no risk of overfertilization of the bush.
If you don't have time to make your own compost, use ready-made products from garden stores. You can also invest in mineral fertilizers, which are artificially made mixtures of various compounds, such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium or calcium. However, in this case, you should be careful not to abuse the amount of nutrients provided to the plant. Otherwise you will bounce back and damage your laurel plants.
How to protect laurel in winter?
Not all varieties are frost tolerant, as are laurel trees, which have this property in 100%. Young plants are particularly susceptible to frost, so they should be covered with white agricultural fabric until frost arrives. It is important that the plant is not completely covered, but only lightly - as an evergreen laurel bush, it needs light in winter as well. In winter, laurel trees are in a state of physiological drought, so they should be watered abundantly before the onset of frost.
Cut off the frozen laurel buds in early March. Trim the gray branch to a healthy spot and let it dry out. Caring for bay leaves after frost also includes fertilization - feeding weakened plants with compost or a good quality compound fertilizer.
You should also water regularly and cover the ground with a thick enough mulch. Frosted laurel usually regenerates, gradually sprouting new shoots.