Mountain laurel is an evergreen shrub that is known for its beautiful flowers and lush foliage. It belongs to the heath family and can be found growing naturally in the eastern regions of North America. Pruning this plant helps it maintain a healthy shape, control its size, encourage new growth, and promote better flowering. However, mountain laurel requires specific pruning techniques to ensure the best results. In this article, we will discuss how to prune mountain laurel.
When should you prune your mountain laurel?
The best time to prune your mountain laurel is immediately after it finishes blooming in late spring or early summer. This allows you to assess which branches need trimming without affecting next year’s bloom. Also, avoid pruning during winter as it may damage the tender buds of this delicate plant.
What tools do you need for pruning mountain laurels?
Before we delve into how to cut back a Mountain Laurel bush let us first look at what tools are needed.
How do you prune a young mountain laurel?
If your plant is still young (less than 5 years old), start by removing any dead or diseased wood using sharp pruning shears or loppers. Next, remove any crossing branches that rub against each other and create wounds on the bark – these wounds are prone to infection by pests and diseases.
To encourage branching lower down on the stem:
• Cut off about one-third of all stems at ground level just above soil line.
• Remove half-inch wide vertical strips of bark from remaining stems around where they were cut back.
• Keep plants well watered until new shoots appear.
How do you thin out an overgrown mountain laurel?
If your Mountain Laurel has become too large for its location because it hasn’t been pruned correctly every year then follow these steps:
• Cut one-third of all tallest stems down near base just above soil line.
• Thin out any crowded, crossing or damaged stems.
• Cut back leggy growth to just above a leaf node, which is where new growth comes from.
How do you rejuvenate an old mountain laurel?
If your plant hasn’t been pruned for many years or has become overgrown and unmanageable, it may be time to rejuvenate it. This process may take 2-3 years until significant results are seen. Here’s how:
• Start by pruning one-third of the oldest and thickest branches down near the base using a hand saw.
• Next year prune one-half of the remaining older wood
• In Year three thin out remaining older stems so that you have only healthy shoots left.
Pruning mountain laurel can be intimidating at first but with practice and patience, anyone can learn this skill. Proper pruning promotes better health and appearance while retaining its natural beauty. Remember never to remove more than one-fourth of the shrub in any single season as this will stress your Mountain Laurel too much causing long-term damage to them. Use sharp tools when cutting back branches avoiding crushing bark around cuts as it invites disease into plants. Prune on cloudy days if possible because bright sunlight tends to wilt cut leaves faster making post-pruning care harder for stressed plants!