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Looking for advice re pruning, watering, deer damage re young Portuguese Laurels


Hi everyone,

I live in the Pacific NorthWest so I'm in a rain forest climate. I planted several dozen Portuguese Laurels last fall forming a hedge around 250 feet long (3 foot spacing). At planting they were about 65-70” tall and they have grown about a foot at the top since then. I'm hoping for some guidance on the following.


Should A Beginner Like Me Attempt Formative Pruning Myself?

The only experience in landscaping and gardening I have is the process of selecting and planting the hedge row so this is all new to me. I was going to hire an arborist for the pruning but the quote I received was much higher than expected and I’m house poor. I’m wondering if formative pruning is something I should attempt. The hedge row was planted because the property is at a reasonably busy intersection so apart from privacy I’m hoping for some traffic noise deadening. I have read that living walls aren’t ideal for noise abatement so I’m thinking the denser and thicker the better. I have ordered several books on pruning but if need be I can come up with the money to perhaps pay a pro to prune if prudent (say that 10 times fast!). I am somewhat heartened by this very long thread where a noob like me learned of the adage, "Growth follows the knife", took a leap of faith and pruned aggressively despite his own intuition and then charts the remarkable progress with pictures taken over the following years:


(I'm posting this link for other non-professionals like me who might find this helpful.)


Where Should I Locate the Drip Lines?
I’m putting in ½ inch drip lines (12 inch spacing, 1.0 GPH) for irrigation to make sure the Laurels are properly watered in the first few years. How far from the trunk should the lines be located? I’m running a continuous loop of lines in the form of daisy eights that cross at the mid point between the two trees, then diverge away then cross again. I’m asking because the drip line is not particularly flexible and it is kinking due to the steep curves it has to make and obviously kinking is to be avoided. I’m setting the line roughly 6 inches from the trunks.


Will These Damaged Trees Survive?

Long story short, bucks heavily damaged several of the trees after planting while I was out of town (scratching itchy antlers I'm told). I’m wondering if anyone would care to weigh in on whether I need to replace them or if they can bounce back. Photos of the trees can be found here: https://imgur.com/gallery/foEP6SP


Thanks very much for any advice you can provide.


Edited by HedgeNoob

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