How to Prune Cherry Laurel


Hardy between zones 7 and 10, Cherry Laurel (Prunus Caroliniana) grows wild in many parts of the southern United States and is used as a versatile landscaping plant. Left alone, the plant develops a mounding form between 10 to 20 feet tall. Shear it annually for a dense, evergreen hedge, or prune to one strong trunk to develop a tree. The tree's white blossoms and shiny, green foliage make it an appealing choice. Grow the plant next to a patio, though, as hundreds of seedlings sprout up in grassy areas due to the plant's tendency to drop seeds.

Step 1

Shear the tips off cherry laurels each spring to a uniform height if you want to grow Cherry Laurel as a hedge. Maintain your hedge with frequent shearing throughout the growing season.

Step 2

Cut out any dead wood with your hand pruners in summer or early fall. Cherry laurel is prone to canker, especially if pruned during wet winters and springs. Instead, prune mid- to late summer. Prune branches that are rubbing against each other or growing vertically. Cherry laurel, grown in its natural, rounded form, requires little pruning.

Step 3

Cut back all branches except for one strong trunk if you want to grow Cherry Laurel as a tree. Allow lateral branches to grow from this trunk, but remove any suckers (small, vegetative growth that sprouts vertically from lateral branches).

Things You'll Need

  • Shears
  • Hand pruners
  • Pruning saw


  • Department of Agriculture Forest Service: Cherry Laurel
  • Texas State Cooperative Extension Office: Follow Proper Pruning Techniques
  • Texas State Cooperative Extension Office: Cherry Laurel
  • North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Office: Pruning Trees

Who Can Help

  • Washington State University Cooperative Extension Office: Propagating Deciduous Trees
Keywords: pruning cherry laurel, growing cherry laurel, cherry laurel

About this Author

Julie Christensen has been writing professionally since 2001. She is a full-time freelance writer and former teacher with writing credits from several regional and national publications, such as Colorado Parent and LDS Living. She specializes in parenting, education and gardening topics. Christensen studied early childhood education at Ricks College, and spent 20 years as a teacher and director in university and public school settings.