What’s happening to my cherry laurels?

Asked August 11, 2019, 7:16 PM EDT

I need some help diagnosing what ails my cherry laurels. I’ve had them for over 10 years without problems. I first noticed some dead branches last week and with closer inspection saw two problems 1. Green leaves have holes and 2. Branches and trunk are coated in a white powdery substance. See pictures. What can I do to make them healthy again? I’ve removed all the dead branches.

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Right photo - The holes in the leaves look like a fungal disease called cherry shot hole. This is favored by wet weather. The infected leaf tissue falls out and the holes are left behind. The damage is cosmetic and no chemical controls are recommended. Rake up any fallen foliage. The plant will recover.

Left and middle photo - The white substance on the branches looks like a sucking insect called white prunicola scale. This looks like a heavy infestation and very difficult to control. 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. Take a look at our blog for more information and control. https://marylandgrows.umd.edu/2019/01/07/qa-whats-wrong-with-my-cherry-laurel-shrubs/