Laurels are dying

Asked October 24, 2019, 4:09 PM EDT

Something is happening to the laurels we have in our backyard. Their leaves started to get brown some weeks ago and the gardener told us it was because of lack of water. We have been watering the trees for a while now but there is no improvement at all. What can we do? Who should we call to treat them?

District of Columbia County District of Columbia drought shrubs laurel cherry laurel abiotic issues drought damage cherry laurel leaves turning brown

1 Response

We have had record-breaking drought this summer and into the fall. The shrubs have probably lost some roots that dried up and died. That means the roots cannot support the upper growth and that is dying back as a result. You cannot undo this. Keep watering so that you do not lose more leaves. There is a several-inch water deficit in the soil, and it may take months for the rains to catch up. Water until the ground freezes.

You may want to do some watering the next two years, too, during dry periods.

Ellen