Cherry Laurels turning brown

Asked August 8, 2019, 11:51 PM EDT

Hello my cherry laurels are turning brown. They are newly planted within the last few months in a pot. They get full sun. The soil drains well. Initially some of the leaves had the shotgun holes but those seen to have dissipated. I see no scale or evidence of insects. Now about a 1/4 to 1/3 of the leaves have turned brown. However, there is a ton of new growth, even on the branches where the brown leaves. Though I did notice today that some of the new growth is now turning brown and seems limp. When the leaves initially started turning brown I cut back on the watering which didn't seem to have any effect. My neighbor's cherry laurels are thriving and she waters them everyday. I'm at a loss. Can you help please? Thank you!

Anne Arundel County Maryland shrubs cherry laurel abiotic issues cherry laurel with browning leaves watering issue

1 Response

Cherry laurels do not tolerate sitting in soggy soil. The roots drown and leaves wilt, and/or brown, and fall off, then branches die.

Of course, roots die if they get under-watered, too. Then they dry up and die. Both over- and under-watering have similar symptoms.

Here are some watering tips:
In a pot, soil must be moist (about as wet as a wrung-out sponge is ideal.) This may require daily watering--or not. Depends on your pot size in relation to your plants somewhat. A smaller plant in a big pot is going to use water more slowly.

Your best bet is to feel the soil daily. If the surface, or just below, is moist, you probably don't need to water that day. But experiment with how much water to apply. Counting as your water with hose or watering can may help you get a baseline to work with.

Be mindful that when a pot gets really dry, the soil will shrink away from the side. Then when the plant is watered, water may simply run down the inside of the pot and out the bottom without actually being absorbed by the soil. Water slowly when watering very dry soil to ensure the water gets absorbed.

Ellen