Cherry Laurel – Pruning

Q: I have several ‘Bright and Tight’ cherry laurels that I planted last spring. Last fall I noticed they had lost a lot of leaves. This spring there is new growth but it is only on the tips of each branch. Would pruning help?

A: Spring-planted evergreens like Leyland cypress, magnolia and cherry laurel always have a hard time establishing a good root system. The plant is quickly overwhelmed by the needs of its leaves in summer. Roots have barely a chance to grow. Therefore the tree gets weak in summer and fall, leading to leaf spot diseases that defoliate the tree. The best you can do is keep it watered if it turns dry this summer and apply a slow-release organic fertilizer like Holly-Tone or JB Stone lightly now.

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