swapping conifers for laurel - advice please !

3 Mar 2006
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United Kingdom
Hi, I hope someone can give us some advice....

We have a conifer hedge that acts as a great barrier along our back garden onto the road - the problem is that my kids get itchy and a rash from this everytime they go in the garden (especially when they kick the football in it and have to delve into it to retrieve the ball!). The hedge is about 30 metres long.

We have decided to take these conifers out and replace them with laurel, as we need something that grows quickly and will give us a good solid hedge for privacy and security. We will ideally buy plants that are about 6 foot high to start with, as we want to have an effective barrier from the start.

So, can anyone help with the following questions :

1) Once I have got the conifers out, will the laurels grow in the same soil, or will the old roots that get left behind hinder the laurel growth ?

2) If we are buying 6 foot high plants, how far apart should we plant them ?

3) What growth can we realistically expect each year ? We ideally want to get them up to about 8 foot high and then maintain them at that height.

4) Are laurels known to cause itching and rashes like the conifer, as obviously we don't want to replace the conifers with something else that is an irritant for the kids !

5) Any other things that we should take into consideration, or can anyone recommend any alternative to the laurel ?

6) For buying the quantity of plants we will need, can you make any recommendation as to good places to buy from ? I guess a garden centre will work our very expensive !

Any help you can give will be appreciated.....
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