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Portuguese laurel help

planted five Portuguese laurel trees in October 2018 and for the first year they were fine with no problems and good growth. Around the end of April one of the trees had a big leaf drop. I didn't notice anything wrong with the tree prior to that. I have been watering the trees throughout the dry spells up until the leaf drop and following it with a weekly feed also. The other four trees are doing really well. Two weeks on and the poorly one is still struggling with yellowing drooping leaves. The big leaf drop coincided with the deciduous tree next to it blooming but that could be just a coincidence. Only other thing to note is that a few of the leaves have some dark spotting and there is also some damage to the bark on the trunk. I'd be grateful for any help as it feels like we're going to lose the tree.

I did carefully dig down one side of the rootball at the end of April to check the moisture of the soil and it did appear a little moist. Definitely not dry.

The last three photos were taken on 28th April.


  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    The shrubs are doing well considering the size and only planted in 2018. You are doing the right thing by continuing to water, and you must keep this up all through the summer and easing off in the autumn-winter. The ones that are not doing so well may have a bit of competition from the tree nearby as you describe. You may need to water it even more. Try to lay a thick layer of bark mulch every year to help conserve moisture. Consider pruning back the ones that have clearly died back.

    You have to remember, you have planted in huge specimens that have to adapt quickly to new surroundings and soil. The more mature the harder it is for the plant to adjust. You need to ensure water reaches their roots at all times until the roots have firmly bonded with the soil in your garden. On mature plants, it will take a lot longer, and in some cases, any small mistakes like missed waterings may be the difference of life or death when they are that size.
  • Thanks for your advice. Just seems strange how four of the five are doing well with one not and they have all had the same watering/feeding. Will keep going as I have been and hopefully it will recover. 
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