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Q&A: What’s wrong with my cherry laurel shrubs?

cherry laurel
Cherry Laurel with Leaf Scorch Symptoms and Holes. Photo: University of Maryland Extension / Ask an Expert

Q: My cherry laurels do not look good. There are brown spots and holes on the leaves and white stuff on the trunk. What can I do?

A: First, there is a lot to like about cherry laurels (Prunus laurocerasus). They are popular evergreen screening and foundation plants, deer-resistant, and pretty tough once established. Cherry laurels make their best growth in moist, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. They even tolerate full shade.

We receive numerous questions about problems with these shrubs. They can have multiple issues that are attributed to environmental, climate, or site conditions. When the plants are stressed, they weaken and become susceptible to diseases and/or insect pests. It is helpful to be aware of these issues before planting them.

Here are some of the most common problems with cherry laurels in the landscape and what you can do.



Abiotic Problems

To establish cherry laurels successfully in your landscape, here are tips for new and established plants.

If you notice problems with your shrubs during the growing season, we are happy to help diagnose what you are dealing with. Please send your questions and clear photos to the Home & Garden Information Center’s Ask Extension service.

By Marian Hengemihle, Maryland Certified Professional Horticulturist, Consultant, University of Maryland Extension Home & Garden Information Center

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