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by Mihael


Dear Jacki,
I require assistance with my cherry laurel. We purchased four plants in March and wanted to make a small hedge of them on our balcony. The balcony is facing south and has a glass railing (well, a fence).

For the first two weeks everything, and suddenly all went wrong. We noticed the leaves started turning brown, but figured it was just the last of the frosts that shocked the plant or that it was missing iron so we added a bit of liquid iron during watering. However, they didn’t improve.

After a while we noticed it was infested with spider mites, but we managed to kill them with pesticide. Even though the plants are at a balcony, the rain never falls on them and probably the mites were not properly washed off as they do in the open garden, 50 m away from us. At the beginning we didn’t know it was spider mites so we also treated the plant with Confidor, as a local botanical pharmacy suspected it was leaf-miners that were attacking them.

I’m listing all of this to have a sense of what was done to save the plants.

The reason I’m contacting you is because there is something else still attacking the plant. I’m attaching the photos where on three leaves one can see the three stages of the illness.

At first the leaf gets a well defined edge around it, which after some time becomes pale. After that it becomes brown, dries, and falls off.

The leaf then looks as if it was chewed on by a caterpillar, but in fact it wasn’t. This behaviour was present even during our struggle with the spider mites, but it still remained. Also, I don’t know if it’s related, but the newly formed buds rapidly dry – this started happening after we treated the plants with acaricide (against mites).

We water the plant regularly, and keep it in a plastic container which is properly drained. We removed all the leaves that were damaged by the mites (about 70% of them) and we are trying to keep the plants alive.

Comments for Help with cherry laurel

Jul 03, 2021
Too Many Problems
by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

Whenever a plant has this many problems, you need to take a step back and decide if it is suited to this situation, or whether something else would work better.

You don’t say where you are, so I am flying blind. I have no idea if this plant is actually hardy for you, you mention frost, but that may or may not be the issue.

All of these problems are something that it wouldn’t have if planted in the ground. Generally, this type of plant is not developed for use undercover, in a pot.

Here are some links to other sites with more about similar problems;

Gardening Yardener

Maryland Grows Q&A

Forum on Gardeners World

I hope that helps get your issue under control. By the way, I don’t recommend spraying any kind chemical as a first resort. Figure out what’s going on first, use cultural practices (spray with water for spider mites, for example) before adding poisons into the mix.