Are Laurel Hedges Poisonous?

With the exception of Bay Laurel, the short answer is yes. All other Laurel hedging varieties (including berries) are poisonous to both humans and animals.

Laurel hedge plants produce hydrocyanic acid which can cause serious complications if ingested. However, Laurel hedges planted in gardens are often in the proximity of both pets and young children and we are not aware of any problems arising for any of our customers.

Are Laurel Hedges Poisonous to Dogs?

Almost all species of Laurel hedge are poisonous to dogs, with the exception of Bay Laurel. If you share your home with a dog, it is recommended that you either choose Bay or an alternative species to prevent your pet from coming to any harm by ingesting any fallen leaves, berries etc.

Are Laurel Hedges Poisonous to Horses?

Yes, excluding Bay Laurel. All other species of Laurel hedging are poisonous to horses and we recommend choosing Bay Laurel hedging if it is likely that horses may come into contact with your hedge. Otherwise, you may prefer to choose an alternative species.

Are Laurel Hedges Poisonous to Sheep?

It is recommended that customers who are going to be planting a hedge which may be accessible to livestock consider an alternative species, or choose Bay Laurel, which is not poisonous to sheep.

Are Laurel Hedges Poisonous to Humans?

Laurel hedging is also toxic to humans – including berries, leaves and stems – and particularly wilted or fallen leaves. Care should be taken whilst planting your hedge and avoid chipping the wood, as this can release hydrocyanic fumes into the air.

Alternatives to Laurel Hedge

If you are concerned about the toxicity of Laurels then we would recommend choosing the non-poisonous Bay Laurel, or another alternative hedge. If your new hedge is accessible to livestock such as sheep, horses, or household pets such as dogs, we would recommend you choose an alternative species:

Elaeagnus ebbingei – another evergreen with silvery foliage and scented flowers.

Griselinia littoralis – a popular hedging species with attractive apple-green oval-shaped leaves. Easy to maintain.

Photinia Red Robin – an evergreen hedge with leaves that are similar in size to Laurels, grown for its spectacular red new growth that appears in spring, and some time intermittently later in the season.

Pyracantha – prickly evergreen hedging shrubs with masses of white flowers in late spring followed by a colourful show of berries in Autumn.

Viburnum tinus (Lauristinus) – smaller leaves than Laurels, this is a hardy hedging species well suited to exposed gardens, the white flowers appear in Winter and have a long season of interest.

If you’re uncertain on which type of hedging is most suitable or wish to speak to a member of our team, get in touch with us today.

You may also find the following guides useful How To Make Your Laurel Grow Faster and Common Pests Diseases and Problems with Laurel Hedge Plants for more information on getting the best out of your Laurel Hedging Plants