Q: We have a Carolina cherrylaurel in our backyard. It has some brownish-gold spots as well as some small holes in the leaves. It gets early morning and afternoon sun with spotty shade most of the rest of the day. Please let us know what this problem is and how we might deal with it.
A: You have an excellent example of cercospora leaf spot on cherrylaurel. This fungus attacks leaves that stay wet for long periods. My bet is that the the spotty sunshine near the fence is not enough to dry the leaves quickly nor enough to help the cherrylaurel fight the disease on its own. If you can keep it healthy for a couple more years, it will grow taller than the fence and the leaf spot will likely go away on its own.
Be sure to rake and replace mulch under the plants each winter and spray with any garden fungicide at three week intervals starting in April.