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Portuguese Laurel Issues

Hi, I’m new to all this gardening and about last Oct we had a row of Portuguese Laurel planted (about 120 plants) to form a new boundary between our neighbour and ourselves. Previous to this we had about 20 forty foot wide, forty foot tall leylandii trees. I spent all last summer taking them down and I hired a stump grinder to taken the stumps down as far as I could. The new Portuguese Laurel trees were about three foot tall and in pots, bought from a very reputable nursery and they were planted about a foot and a half apart. It’s was a very windy Winter and about a month ago we started to worry they weren’t doing well. The top of the trees seemed in worse condition that the bottom half. The leaves up top look more curled in and a lot of them yellowish and spotty. Some have a few holes in them and there is one in particular we’re the leaves have went brown and falling off but that’s the only one like that. 

After inspecting the plants they seem to have been planted into a hole just about the size of the pot and on some of them plant was half out of the ground with the wind and it looks like the hole is so small that part of the plant was in the surface. No compost or bone meal was used when planting and the soil is probably not the best and the remains of the leylandii stumps are still in there somewhere underground too. 

I got some advice and because I have time on my hands (furloughed with Covid 19) I replanted the whole row of plants. I move them all out from the wire fence about two foot, dug a bigger hole, placed some compost in the hole, sprinkled some bone meal in, waters that with a bit of water mixed with miracle grow and put the plant back in. I soaked the plant in water and miracle grow when doing all that for a few minutes and I finished by putting some sprinkling some bone meal at the base of the replanted tree. 

I did this just over a week ago and started watering every day or every second day at least. I water each plant for about 15 seconds each and once a week I mix miracle grow in with the water to give them a help. 

So far I have seem little difference but I’d appreciate any advice To help them establish and thrive as I’m a total novice. It was a big investment as it cost about £5 a plant plus the time in labour for the guy to plant them (badly, I’m told). 

Should I be taking all the less healthy leaves off? Should I prune that part for the tree right back? Or maybe what I have done already should be enough. 

Any advice greatly received. 


  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,677
    Sounds like you need to be watering more than that if you have re-planted them again that recently. It means your shrubs are trying to settle and make contact with the surrounding soil. This takes time, and unfortunately the weather is rather hot, so an added strain. In order to get the best from the watering in this weather, only water in the early mornings or late evenings directing into the base. Sounds like a lot of plants to water!

    You don't mention the soil condition or the type of soil it has been planted in. That may affect how much water you need to water. But, the more free draining the more you will need to water. Also consider laying a thick layer of mulch over to lock in moisture. 
  • The hi, Thanks for coming back to me. The soil type varies to be honest the top 20 or so are in a newly landscaped area and the soil is quite mucky and wet. They are all planted onto compost surrounded in compost as well. I’m watering those a bit less. 

    I am generally only watering once a day and either in the morning or evening. The rest are not in great soil either but it seems much drier so perhaps I should be watering them twice a day in this weather. 

    Do you thing the leave as shown in the picture will come back into good health ok or should I be pulling the leaves off or doing something else. 

    By mulch, do you mean woodchip/bark? I had them surrounded in woodchip/bark before but I’ve that all pulled back so I could replant. Maybe I should push that all back into place. I had kept it back as I thought it would be easier to water them for a few weeks with that pulled back. 

    Thanks for the advice. Really appreciated. 
  • Hi Gareth, I had a similar issue.  How are they now after a couple of summers? 
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