Last Updated on December 28, 2022 by Griselda M.
Prunus laurocerasus ‘Schipkaensis’, also called the Skip Laurel, Cherry Laurel, or Schipka Cherry laurel originates in the Schipka pass area of Nepal. The skip laurel growth rate makes this an attractive tree option for creating hedges and rows of shrubs/small trees in the garden.
Do you know the skip laurel growth rate or are you struggling to find out why yours is not growing or how far they should grow each year?
Skip laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) trees are a popular choice for many people looking for lush and dense hedges. This tree can be trimmed to keep it small and more compact than most laurel trees, achieving a maximum height if not pruned of about 25 feet.
These brightly evergreen trees are a great size for any kind of yard. They thrive in full sunlight but can do fairly well in partial shade too.
They thrive in USDA hardiness zones 5 – 9 which cover most of the country. It can be easily trimmed to form a dense hedge. It is hardy and easy to grow to produce a dense hedge that keeps away unwanted elements.
Skip Laurel Growth Rate
Skip laurel hedges create more neat compact hedges when pruned because they are smaller than many other laurel types. They have a natural vase-like shape that is attractive to look at.
These trees grow to at least 18-25 feet tall and 10-20 feet wide with a moderate rate of 1 to 2 feet per year.
Their foliage is dense and glossy green in color all year round. Its fragrant white blossoms bloom in spring. During fall and winter, these trees produce purplish-black berries that attract songbirds.
This plant is extremely tough and tolerates poor and dry soils, air pollution, shade, and cold weather.
Characteristics Of Skip Laurel
- A hardy plant that withstands tough cold weather up to -10 degrees
- Drought and deer-resistant plant
- Fresh and glossy evergreen foliage that is attractive all year round
- Grows easily even in difficult conditions
- Can be trimmed into beautiful hedges
How To Encourage Faster Growth Of Skip Laurel Bushes
If your laurel is not growing quickly enough, there are some ways you can speed up the process. There are several ways you can use that include,
Your laurel may be stunted in growth due to a lack of enough water. Even though this plant tolerates dry soil and tough growing conditions, it is best to give it the best-growing atmosphere. Water your new laurel shrub regularly, especially in the first year of growth. During summer water every day if the soil is very dry or water every 4 days if the soil holds water, or water every 6 days if the soil holds water and is under shade. Adequate water will enable your laurel to grow thick and fast all year long.
Adding A Fertilizer
Adding a well-balanced fertilizer is a great way to encourage laurel growth. New laurels that are struggling to establish a growth system can get be fed with a natural, organic fertilizer like bone meal. Established laurel trees grow better with the help of a more balanced fertilizer – but try to use organic slow-release fertilizers. They do not appear to like chemical fertilizers.
Choosing The Right Soil For Your Skip Laurel Trees
This plant thrives in most soil types but if your soil is heavy or sandy, add a layer of compost to better the chances of your plant growing better. Without the right type of soil, laurel can grow slowly. You may want to consider what type of soil to use when planting.
Pruning The Heads
Over time, the bottom branches of this tree can become bare while the top is heavy and thick with foliage. This slows its growth and it becomes a problem to support its weight. To improve such trees, remove all the dead or damaged branches to encourage laurel growth. Use a sharp pruner or hedge trimmer to make this a lot easier and quicker to do.
If you want to prune laurels to encourage better growth, trim the branches and cut them back a few times in the year. This will depend on how fast your laurel grows. If yours grow rapidly, then you can prune it a few times a year. This helps the bush come back bushier and thicker than before. If you notice that your tree has buds on the branches, cut around a quarter to a half-inch above the bud to give it room for growth. Be very gentle as you prune your tree to ensure you don’t damage it.
Read more about Practical Guide: How to Trim a Burning Bush
Do Laurel Trees Grow in Winter?
This will depend on the severity of your winter. In my area they do, but temperatures hardly go below 60°F at night, and hence the plants do grow a bit. Slowly. If you live in a colder climate, they may stay green, but you will not notice any major growth in the plant.
Can Skip Laurels Grow in Containers?
Yes, they can – you need quite a large container of 5 or more gallon volume. Fill the container with relatively well-draining soil and add pearlite. Any plant that likes well-draining soil, will thrive in soil that has at least a quarter-by-volume pearlite. I cannot overstate how much better pearlite makes most soils!!
When Do You Fertilize Skip Laurel?
The Skip Laurel is a relatively hardy tree that does not actually need much fertilizer. In certain cases, using chemical fertilizers can actually reduce growth rates. I have used a lot of mulch under these trees, and have found that a mix of manure and bone meal works well. I apply this in fall with a heavy mulch over it – but my area is quite warm – if you are in a colder area you could probably apply this in later winter/early spring and as the soil warms the new growth will be nourished by the fertilizer.
A natural mulch is probably the best fertilizer these plants can have, as it releases a small number of nutrients as it decomposes, and this is ideal for them. The bone meal provides some nitrogen, phosphate, and sulfur.
If you have to use a chemical fertilizer, apply small doses of it after the flowering cycle finishes.
How to Save a Dying Skip Laurel?
The most important thing to ascertain is why the plant is dying. I cannot show pictures of my skip laurels as they were killed by the dreaded polyphagous shothole borer, for which there is currently no viable organic treatment. The chemical treatments are so toxic and drastic that I would rather not have the tree!
If you can see no sign of this pest in your branches, it is probably a case that you have underwater the tree. If regular watering (weekly) restores growth, you have ruled out that probable cause. In my garden, I tend to have too much water not too little, and this has caused my Skip Laurels some stress that probably made them more susceptible to the Polyphagous shot hole borer. Skip laurels need to be watered enough, but not too much.
You may find they can also be overrun by certain insect pests. If you find an insect in abundance in your laurels take it to a local agricultural extension office and get it identified and treat accordingly.
How Long Do Skip Laurels Live?
This is a bit of a trick question, but my understanding is that, if you do not kill your Skip laurel tree it will outlive you!! They are multi-human generational trees, and I know of neglected plants that are probably 150-160 years old and still look ok.
Are Skip Laurel Roots Invasive?
Skip laurel roots are generally not considered to be invasive. I would still caution against planting them too close to a wall, as their branches get quite tough and woody with time, and you will struggle to maintain the wall behind them!!
Skip laurel trees’ growth rate is average and we have learned how to encourage faster growth in case it is not growing at the right rate. No matter where you plant your skip laurel, you will get dense glossy evergreen foliage – that’s assured.
The more you plant close together, the denser the foliage becomes. If it successfully grows at 2 ft. each year, you can grow an impenetrable hedge in no time. You can also allow the skip laurel to grow naturally without pruning to get the spring show or gorgeous white candle-like flowers with dark berries in either autumn or winter.
Whether you choose to have a thick hedge for privacy or a barrier for dust or deep protection you will get it right. This plant requires less maintenance that does not take too much of your time.
Are skip laurels easy to grow?
Yes, they are a very easy plant to grow. They are also very attractive and can be grown in many different situations. I have them growing in a number of pots on the deck. A young skip laurel can be as small as 10 cm (4 inches) tall but older plants can grow to over 100 cm (40 inches) high.
You will need to give them a regular feeding every two weeks with a general purpose fertiliser. You can add compost or even manure to help keep them healthy. Do not feed too often as they will start to become leggy and misshapen if you do.
How long do laurels take to grow?
As an example, a single crown of 'Laurentiana' can grow as much as 12" tall in two years. However, it takes a few years for the crown to mature and produce flowers, so you'll get more growth out of your shrub after a few years than you would in its first year. This is because the plants are still growing new leaves, but are not producing flowers yet.
What months do skip laurels grow?
According to the USDA, a seed starts growing in February and a full head of leaves in June. It is not entirely accurate to say that they don't grow in winter. In the UK they are normally available from November to March (they are available for about a month during the summer but are not as common). They are also available at some garden centres in the USA during this time.
Why are my skip laurels turning yellow?
It's probably that you're growing your plants in too much shade.
How do you plant skip laurel?
Skip laurel is a native tree, meaning it grows naturally in the wild. It’s also a very hardy tree that can be planted in areas with extreme temperatures and is great for areas where you need more shade than a typical deciduous tree would provide. It can grow in full sun or partial shade, but it does best in a moist environment.
This is a fast growing tree, and it’s recommended to plant your tree in a sunny location.
How high do laurel trees grow?
Laurel trees can reach heights of up to 60 feet (18 meters), according to the Arbor Day Foundation. Laurel trees are native to the Mediterranean region, where they are a popular ornamental.
How far apart should you plant skip laurels?
If you want to maximize your chances of seeing the flowers, you should plant them as far apart as possible. Skip Laurels are an easy-to-grow, hardy perennial that grows in zones 3 through 9. They can be planted in a large number of ways. The most common is to dig a hole for the roots, add some compost and water.
You will need to amend your soil with compost or fertilizer, and water them regularly. They prefer full sun and well-drained soil, but will tolerate some shade.
What time of year does laurel stop growing?
Laurel is a deciduous tree that stops producing leaves in the fall, but it can regrow them for the following spring. Laurel trees typically grow to be about 40 feet tall and produce white or pink flowers, according to Gardener's Supply Company. Laurel trees are hardy evergreens and do not require winter temperatures to survive.
Caroline is a gardener who loves to get down to the nitty–gritty of gardening. She proudly proclaims herself as a ‘dirt worshipper‘ and can often be found deep in the garden, covered in soil and singing to her plants. As a self–proclaimed ‘plant whisperer‘, Caroline believes that plants need love and attention just like any other living thing, and she loves to give them both. When she‘s not tending to her garden, you can often find her researching the latest gardening trends, or teaching others how to make their gardens thrive