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Help with stressed Cherry Laurels

Hi there. Hoping some cherry laurel experts can give me some advice. I planted 25 x Cherry Laurel bare root plants around 8 weeks ago - looking to create a hedge. Back filled hole with plenty organic compact and put bark around (not touching trunks). Also cut them back from around 3ft to 2ft. After a couple of weeks some plants lost all their leaves while others have shed a lot of leaves recently. The leaves also are yellowing and browning (crispy) at edges. Overall they don't look very happy at all.

Some of my concerns are the soil around/below the roots is measuring moist-wet using moisture meter over several days despite not watering. Also soil appears quite compacted on surface - we had strong winds in the week after planting so i had them well compacted in to avoid damage.

Any tips or ideas would be much appreciated.


  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,644
    How long were they in the bare root state? It might have been too long for comfort and they are reacting by loosing leaves. Keep watering until they recover.
  • We had the exact same issue with portuguese laurel about 2 years ago. They ended up way worse than yours, we were watering what looked like dead sticks for months. Now they're flourishing. Don't give up hope!
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,800
    When you say you ‘back filled the hole with organic compost’ … you don’t mean just compost do you?

      You did mix compost in with the soil and backfilled with that, didn’t you?
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Dons1Dons1 Posts: 3
    Thanks for the comments guys. In response:

    I planted them next day after receiving so likely in bare root for only 2 days- roots were moist when planted.

    I put a good amount of organic compost around planting area from bottom of trench to below roots and on on top mixture of the compost, original soil and some blended loam top soil.

    Sounds like I need to keep watering? I was worried they were over wet- soil is moist around roots from meter, showing as wet deeper down. 
    Thanks again, I’m as stressed as the plants look 😬
  • mattbradleymattbradley Posts: 1
    edited April 2022
    Dons1, im really sorry to hijack your thread but i seem to be having the same issues with a few of mine. I planted some new plants last year, trimed back this year too. The plants between us and the neighbour appear to be doing ok (some yellowing of the leaves though) but the plants near the footpath seem to be really struggling. At first we thought could be dog wee as lots of dog walkers go past, but the leaves also look like theyre being eaten. There looks to be new growth on them though. Its a million miles away from the hedge im trying to create.
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,644
    Mature laurel hedges around here are about 8 feet high and wide and often bigger unless restrained. I think yours are planted too close to the edge of the pavement and will also soon encroach on the narrow grass strip behind once they get going. What size are you aiming to maintain long term?
  • Dons1Dons1 Posts: 3
    edited April 2022
    Aiming for 1.5m max height and don’t mind it being over grass somewhat. Do understand however they will need regular pruning when established- just need to get there first…
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