We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Mountain Laurel grows to 10-12 feet, and tends to be naturally leggy in its natural Northeastern Oak woodland habitats (see photo above). If it's "overgrown" that way in your around-the-house landscaping in places where it is meant to look green and full, it's because it was planted in the wrong place. It wants to stretch out, unless in full sun. With plenty of sun and rich, slightly acidic soil, it grows like this:
Another alternative is, again, to cut it down to about 6-10" sticks in the Springtime, and let it re-start its growth from the bottom. Regrowth, though, will take far too long for most people to put up with.
The same principle applies to leggy Rhododendron maximum, ("maxies").Come to think of it, also applies to leggy Lilacs. Shrubs get leggy naturally.
I thought it was protected. That's ignored around here, where it takes over whole sections of towns, but in general.
Assistant VIllage Idiot
also sometimes one of the oldest woody plants in the forest these days. every effort should be made to accommodate them to the landscape. deer don't like em. wonder what plants grow in concert with them? they might be highly allelopathic, am curious to hear of any successes there. of course if you have a propensity of them in your area, they're not as apt to be viewed as fondly. mt laurel afaik is a native species to this area. _ h/t to you for bringing to my attention in the past that Black Locust is an introduction to the Americas, and not a native.
We have them in abundance here in the Bull Run Mts. of Virginia. The deer do eat them, just like they will eat almost anything else if their preferred foods are unavailable. We have cut down alot of them and the trunks make great fire starters. Those we cut down a few years ago are now 2-3 feet tall, but not yet producing blooms.
I recall an early morning trip I made as an elementary schooler with my father to a nearby state forest. My father dug out some mountain laurels to replant at our house. I was later told that the mountain laurel was a protected species [state flower of CT], and the poaching my father did was against the law. But I never saw the law that did so.