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What’s wrong with my laurels?

We planted a hedge as 6ft Portuguese laurel rootballs in Nov 2018. They’ve gotten over their first year and not died and I’ve also planted smaller potted laurels inbetween to fill gaps lower down. 
I had to plant 40 rootballs in a day so I admit the holes I dug weren’t massive. I made sure that the plants were not planted too deeply and added root grow fungi to the soil in the hole. I have added fish, blood and bone To the top of their mulch at the correct times and if it gets dry I use a leaky hose to water them. I figure that this slowly breaks down the fertiliser for the roots to absorb. I didn’t dig the Fertiliser into the soil as I didn’t want to damage the roots.
In spring, we saw quite a lot of nice new growth but things seem to have stopped now and quite a few yellow leaves are appearing. Is this OK or a sign that they’re not healthy? 
Here are some pics...
1- healthy looking new growth.
2- Smaller pot grown laurel showing yellow leaves.
3- large rootball laurel with some nice spring growth and some yellow leaves.
Any advice you can give would be great. My wife has been researching and she thinks it might be root rot but I would be surprised if it is because we have quite sandy soil and the hedge is at the top of a gentle incline, so they’re not prone to get too damp. 
I have also scraped away at the top of the soil and the little roots I’m seeing look healthy enough. 


  • To me that looks like the natural shed of an don't think there's anything wrong with them. Admittedly I only grow the culinary variety of laurel but can't imagine they're that different in practice. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    They look fine to me. It is normal to get leaf drop on evergreen plants. The priority is to water them well and consistently. During the warm months, it is best to water generously in the late evening or early morning.

    With the leaky hose, I'm not sure they work well if it's used during the warm weather and during the day time. Ensure the water penetrates deep down otherwise a light soak will only encourage the roots to stay shallow, and that means your shrubs will not settle and suffer at the first sign of drought.
  • joe.shimminjoe.shimmin Posts: 213
    That’s good to hear. Thanks. I water in the evenings to give the plants the best chance of soaking up the water. There are some stake holes next to the plants so maybe I’ll try watering into them to get deeper penetration.
    Thanks again!
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,952
    I'd clear away all the debris and weeds too, and give them a decent mulch - bark or similar after they've had a good soak. If you can take that grass edge back a little bit too, it will help.
    It's all competition for water.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • joe.shimminjoe.shimmin Posts: 213
    Here’s how they’re looking this morning. Sorry some are on their sides, I couldn’t figure out how to turn them.

  • joe.shimminjoe.shimmin Posts: 213
    They are all mulched with wood chip and have had the grass/weeds taken out so are pretty free of competition, but thanks you Fairygirl. 
    My wife got some advice to feed with liquid tomato food as the bone in fish blood and bone can take a while to break down. I’ve give that a go and will see if it helps. 
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