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Laurel Hedge for mulch  RSS feed

 
Paul Abbott
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I live out a small town with few businesses in it. So when I call the pruning companies for wood chips they are hardly in the area. When they are in the area I take what I can get. Well... I just had a whole truckload of a Laurel hedge chips delivered. I am guessing from the smell that its the cherry variety... very sweet smelling. So once it was dumped I got on the computer and discovered some potential problems with laurel. Does anyone have experience with this problem or thoughts on its best uses? I was planning on using it to mulch my veggie garden.
 
Michael Cox
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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We have a large laurel hedge - prunings go through the compost first before being applied to soil.

Recently we cut and then shredded a whole load of prunings. A small amount left by the shredder site killed the grass off within 3 days. So, I would use it neat on areas where you want to clear things quickly, but compost it before putting it around your precious plants.

Also, the sweet almond smell you get from the leaves is, I believe, a weak cyanide gas. Cyanide evaporates over a couple of days. I suspect that laurel will be less toxic once it has been sitting around for a week or so.
 
Paul Abbott
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Michael... Thanks for the reply. That helps.
 
Bob Burkinshaw
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Location: Southern Ontario, Canada zone 6a
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I used some chopped Laurel leaves on our vegetables this year. At first I hesitated b/c of the smell and what I had read but decided to do it. The results were very good! Soil was kept moist all summer long with less watering than usual. No problems evident in any of the vegetables. Carrots, especially, have been the best ever. No worm holes!
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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california bay laurel and true bay laurel are quite different. The california laurel is moderately toxic, but I wouldn't be overly worried about using it for mulch. Test it on something easy to replace, rather than using it on your precious exotic perennials.
 
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