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Cherry Laurels - leaves dropping/yellow

We moved into our new house last September 2019 and treated ourselves to some lovely 7-8ft Cherry Laurels.  We watered/fed them regularly during the warm weather (when first planted) but then we had a very wet autumn/winter.  Our trees are now starting to drop their leaves/going yellow and we are very concerned.  We do have heavy clay soil and wonder if their roots became too wet in the clay soil during the autumn/winter.  How can we help our lovely trees, they were a big investment and would be devastated if they die.  They obviously cannot be moved, they are very heavy/large trees - would giving them a feed help? If so, what would you recommend.  Will the soil drying out naturally during Spring/Summer help?  If so, would watering only once a week in hot weather (as they are in their first year of being planted) be best in this soil, normally during hot weather I would water them twice a week.  The wood bark has only been put down the last week or so, the trees were already showing leaf problems before we mulched the whole border.  Your help/advice is greatly appreciated.  From a concerned tree lover.


  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge Posts: 2,443
    There are hundreds of threads here of people buying mature specimens only to kill them because the ground preparation wasn't good in the first place. If they were bought from a garden centre that has a five year warranty on their plants you may want to give them a buzz, as those cowboys shouldn't be selling such big plants knowing full well they'll struggle in the ground. I'm sure other members of the forum will come forward but to me they look like they are planted without enough space to grow. Laurels are really vigorous and they tend to spread to all directions, how do you plant to trim them that close to that fence for instance? Also keep in mind evergreen plants tend to shed leaves this time of year as a new flush is coming through. But to me they seem to be planted too near the fence and you have to do something about it. Have a root through the other posts using the search function above to get an idea from other laurel planters. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • Butterfly66Butterfly66 Posts: 920
    We inherited several large laurels. They all shed leaves around this time of year. Evergreens naturally drop a few old leaves across most of the year, the laurels do as well but they always seem to lose noticeably more around now and the again at the end of the summer.
     If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero
    East facing, top of a hill clay-loam, cultivated for centuries (7 years by me). Birmingham
  • Butterfly66Butterfly66 Posts: 920
    Forgot to add most of ours are planted right against a fence (not by us). Probably worth checking each year that no growth is pushing against the fence but ours seem to focus their growth away from the fence. I cant see any evidence of them ever been trimmed to prevent any damage (and ours don’t seem to have ever been trimmed as a hedge).
     If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero
    East facing, top of a hill clay-loam, cultivated for centuries (7 years by me). Birmingham
  • AdelheidisAdelheidis Posts: 4
    Thank you for your replies.  We have had cherry laurels for many years, in our old property we planted them and they were there for 15 years - we love the tree (not to everyone's taste) and regularly cut them twice a year to keep the shape/size we wanted along that property boundary - they never went out of control.  We have had leaves go yellow on those trees but not to the extent of these new plants - we prepared the ground, being very aware of heavy clay and have fed them for nutrients.  We are hoping it is just settling in, together with a very wet autumn/winter.  Fingers crossed.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,910
    I can only see a few yellow leaves. Nothing really.
    Planting very large specimens, regardless of ground and weather conditions, is always a gamble.
    The recent dry weather simply means they're shedding a few to conserve enough moisture for the rest of the shrub. They'll recover. It's hard stuff to kill. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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