Can I plant new after laurels are removed?

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A couple years ago I got ahold of some free dirt and rocks. Our driveway's always looked lifeless, we wanted some greenery so I got to work, created a berm along the fence line. I took rooting's and starts of whatever was handy since we couldn't buy anything new. For the back drop I put a row of English Laurels and then everything else in front. The space ended up smaller in real life than in my head, but it turned out nice. Please ignore the weeds, I was caught up in long work hours and it got away from me. Ha!

I have English Laurels around our entire property, guess who gets to trim them? I'm looking to reduce the laurels where I can and put something else in lower maintenance becasue I'm not getting any younger and need to plan. It's easy trimming the sides keeping stuff back, no problem! But laurels have to be topped, the whole thing trimmed and it's a pain. If I water the other bushes and plants,.. the laurel roots cometh and take it away. I planted a Green Giant Thuja in there and it's doing very well. I'd like to remove the laurels and replace them with Green Giants,.. or something I'd only need to trim the sides of and let the top part do it's own thing.

I've taken out 15' & 20' laurels and photinia's with success. I let them grow just a little from a 12" stump. Then I double wrapped them in thick black plastic and wire tied them around the bottom with dirt covering the rest. I just forgot about them and let the sun do it's thing cooking them while they were robbed of light. That killed them without any poisons. My question is, can I plant something else in between the stumps or will the remaining laurel roots kill it? I heard they were a bit allopathic? Is that true? Or will the new trees not grow roots properly because of the fibrous laurel roots interfering below? I have so many questions of what could go wrong...

I try not to, but I'm not above cutting the laurels, drilling a hole with a couple drops of herbicide in it and plugging it back up so the rain doesn't wash it out. But I wasn't sure if I poison the laurels gently, if the roots had the herbicide in them whether or not they'd poison other plants roots too by contact? We love the privacy and have become very used to the lush greenery. It has grown much more since this photo. It'll be an absolute shock not having it. So we'd like to get the next thing going soon as we can so it can be established sooner. Does any one have any input or experience with doing this? Or changing out one bush or tree for another? Any help or advice, large or small, would be sooo greatly appreciated. I'm a bit 'stumped' here. :LOL: Have a fantastic day and thanks for reading!
 

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That photo shows a really nice shrub border. Couldn't you just prune the English Laurels (Prunus laurocerasus) only on the sides just as well as a Thuja? While Thuja standishii x T. plicata 'Green Giant' is a more columnar tree it will get at least as wide as your English Laurels.
Another option could be to prune your laurels back very hard into old wood so that the shrubs will remain narrow for several years. English laurels aree a classic hedge plant so the should be amenable to sprouting new branches from old wood.

Anyway, if you do remove the English Laurels you can replant between the stumps immediately. I wouldn't mess with herbicide on the stumps and there wouldn't be a significant allelopathic effect. It will be difficult to dig a hole where there are large roots but with enough effort you can saw them out.
 
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That's good news and thanks BTW! Very kind of you. The photo doesn't show off my rock locking wall, that took me 6 months to do. Ha! Considering we spent nothing doing it but time, it turned out nice.

The laurels can be trimmed on the bottom. But they'll swallow up 'a lot' of real estate growing like a giant mushroom. The area above where they wouldn't get trimmed becomes tall and heavy as it spread out, that middle area will sprout more and it just keeps coming. They get wider and wider until the laurels are hanging completely over everything else blocking all light and the other plants all wither and look terrible. I finally cut it out and they've recovered since. But we get stuck with truck loads of laurel branches too big for my chipper. That's what made me think of Green Giants, at least they're columnar and not going to sag. They'd be fluffy and wispy outwards minding their own business for the most part,.. I think. And I wouldn't mind some shade form the height. There used to be row of pines trees there that had to be removed unfortunately, we miss them so maybe that's part of it.

We get a good snow sometimes in winter, when they come crashing down, they smash what's below like tree limbs. This last winter we had snow, tops were laying on the ground, it was such a mess. Sooo much breakage. Some of the large trunks split down the middle when branches ripped. I let one go out the back of the property only trimming the bottom, and it got 18ft wide before I knew it. It kept sagging down and over my other neighbors yard too. I took it down before they said anything just a matter of time. The topped hedges don't have those issues. I'll keep the main ones of course, they're so bullet proof and nothing else would grow out there. But these are hard to trim between the fence and up on a raise bed of rock as they are. I don't know,... maybe I'll reconsider. We do love the looks of it, just the constant trimming's exhausting. I have a 12 ft laurel hedge that's over about 200ft long now that keeps me pretty busy. :)

Sorry, that was probably too Long of an explanation.

Thanks for the help, really appreciate it!!
 
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Thank you for the explanation. I now understand the details of your situation better. I'm sure the Thuja will be an excellent choice. Good luck with this project.
 

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