cherry laurel

Asked June 1, 2020, 6:16 PM EDT

What is wrong with these cherry laurels? The stems seem to be losing leaves and creating alot of bareness.

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

The cherry laurels look stressed. When weakened by poor drainage, planting too deeply, drought, too much moisture, etc. they can be susceptible to disease and insect issues. We notice symptoms of cherry shot hole, a fungal disease on the foliage and white prunicola scale, a sucking insect on the stems.

Cherry shot disease - The leaves have a shot hole pattern that looks like it was caused by an insect. However, this is a foliar fungal disease 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.

White prunicola scale - Feeding by this insect causes leaf yellowing and dieback.
Prune out any dead or dying branches. If the infestation is not heavy, use a soft brush to brush away the white scale covers from the branches. During the growing season, (now) wrap a piece of double-sided tape around one of the branches. This is a test to monitor the active crawler (juvenile) stage of these insects. They are more susceptible when they come out in May/June depending upon temperature and there may be several generations per year. When you see crawlers sticking to the tape, that is a good time to apply horticultural or insecticidal soap according to label directions.

Take a look at our blog on cherry laurels and how to successfully grow them in your landscape. https://marylandgrows.umd.edu/2019/01/07/qa-whats-wrong-with-my-cherry-laurel-shrubs/
and more on white prunicola scale https://marylandgrows.umd.edu/2019/09/25/qa-what-is-this-white-growth-on-my-cherry-laurel-shrub/

Marian