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I currently have a very well established Hawthorn hedge(it’s been there about 15 years). It has always been trimmed around 7 feet high and maybe 3.5 feet wide.

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Unfortunately new house have been built on the other side of that fence with noisy neighbours. I am working on making that Hawthorn higher to reduce the sound they are making.

However,

I would like to possibly add another plant like a laurel which has very dense foliage and excellent as a sound barrier. Within the Hawthorn, I have Holly and an Ivy sparingly growing as well.

Can I plant a Laurel in between to make this natural fence denser? Will it grow?

Can I use other plants?

If it might struggle to grow, can I pit it first, let it grow high and strong before I plant it?

Any other ideas?

  • Can you please clarify, when you say 'plant a laurel in between', in between what? A photo or two would be very helpful too – Bamboo Jan 9 '18 at 0:37
  • Please send pictures. There are far better 'sound barriers' than laurel that would make a complementary hedge to the one you already have. Make sure that Hawthorn (?) hedge has a base that is slightly wider than the top. Forget about making it taller, wider and fuller is best. A secondary hedge is a great and doable idea! I've got some great recommendations...but need to see what you are up against! – stormy Jan 9 '18 at 3:33
  • Also, I can't stress the power of 'making nice' with your neighbors! You need to do almost everything in your power to make them friends, not enemies. I've been through so many of these 'battles'...including court. Neighbors take work to make friends. We should do this before purchasing property...I've finally learned that lesson. A neighbor who needs drama and an enemy as a neighbor is BIG TROUBLE. Use your wiles while we try to help with your hedge, ha ha. – stormy Jan 9 '18 at 3:37
  • Making friends is not necessary. They just have very noisy kids. This project will be done on my property. I own the area of Hawthorn. – user33232 Jan 9 '18 at 16:07
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There's insufficient space between the hawthorn and the fence I'm afraid. When you say 'laurel' I assume you mean Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) which, if left unpruned, will reach 25 feet by about 12 feet in ten years. Since you wouldn't be able to get in there to prune it back there'd be a danger it would knock down or damage the fence as it grew. Which it's unlikely to do - the root mass from the hawthorn hedge will make planting anything there pretty difficult, and the hedge will out compete anything you try to plant behind in such a narrow, light deficient space.

To be frank, even a dense row of laurels left to grow together to 25 feet in height, whilst it might make a minor impact on train or traffic noise, will not significantly reduce the sound of children shouting and screaming right next door; that particular sound carries a long way. If you're keen to do something, you could try erecting your own very tall fence posts and attach trellis to them extending above the line of next door's fence, and try to encourage the existing ivy to grow over that, though ivy will cling much better and more quickly to a fence than it will trellis sections. Legally though, in the UK, you are obliged to prevent the ivy from attaching itself to their fence - it needs to grow up your own fence or structure erected on your property. There are also bye laws governing the height of solid fences - these may differ from borough to borough, though trellis on top usually enables a greater height to be achieved without breaking the bye laws. I'm afraid there's no easy, quick solution to the noise problem - if you decided to replace the existing hedge with something like Prunus, by the time it's big enough to make a difference, the children will have grown and stopped being so noisy outside anyway.

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