Prunus laurocerasus is commonly called English laurel or cherry laurel. “Otto Luyken” is a cultivar of this broadleaf evergreen shrub that produces showy, aromatic, creamy-white blossoms in the spring. These plants are often grown in the landscape as individual specimen plants, or several plants are grown together as a broad hedge. Maintaining these fast-growing shrubs includes pruning on a regular basis to control the overall size. Shearing is not recommended. Pruning should be done after the shrubs flower.
Stand back to get an overall view of the laurel shrub before you prune, to decide what you need to cut. Allow the plant to grow as naturally as possible, and trim only as needed to maintain shape and health of the shrub.
Wait until all blossoms on the plant have faded to make your first cut. Remove any damaged, weak, or dead branches from the laurel. Make the cut into a healthy part of the stem at a 45-degree angle.
Get rid of any crossing or touching branches. This opens the shrub to more sunlight and air circulation.
Cut off any diseased branches, and get rid of them to avoid spreading the disease. Sterilize your shears before you use them again.
Prune the branches 1/4 inch above a node on the branch to encourage branching. Cut branches back to the point of origin to thin the shrubs, or cut some of the stems back to ground level to rejuvenate the plant.