Fungus on skip laurels

Asked August 1, 2019, 1:24 PM EDT

How can I treat these plants. I recently noticed brown leaves on the top of this bush. What is causing this? What treatment will clean this up?

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

This looks like a heavy infestation of white prunicola scale -- a type of sucking insect that is very difficult to control. Heavy feeding by these insects results in leaf decline and dieback. If this is only on a few branches, you may be able to prune out the branches but you may want to replace the shrub. Your laurels are most likely stressed due to poor drainage, too much mulch, etc. These plants can be finicky about growing conditions and environmental stresses make them more susceptible to pest and disease problems. Take a look at our blog on cherry laurels for more information and how to grow them successfully.