Yellow leaves on cherry laurel are a fairly common occurrence, usually more annoying than really worrying. Learn how yellow leaves are formed and when to do more than just cut them off.
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Wrong location or wrong soil?
Actually hardly conceivable, because cherry laurel gets along with both sunny and shady locations, but it does have a few demands on the soil. If your freshly planted cherry laurel is getting yellow leaves, you should check whether you have planted it in soil that is too compacted or depleted – cherry laurel actually needs fresh garden soil that should be quite deep.
If the soil is very compact, you can perhaps make the soil a little “tastier” for your new cherry laurel by loosening it with a digging fork (just prick it and move it back and forth so you don’t damage the roots). If the soil is depleted, simply spread a good layer of ripe compost on and next to the roots.
Then you should give your cherry laurel some time, maybe it’s not the location or the ground anyway, but:
The cherry laurel has not got used to it yet
A freshly planted cherry laurel likes to react with yellow leaves, because every change of location is associated with great stress for a plant. The entire root area must first grow in, so it can happen that the cherry laurel at the top no longer has sufficient strength for the supply.
Once the cherry laurel has “gained a foothold” (in the truest sense of the word), the problem with the yellow leaves usually takes care of itself.
The cherry laurel is sunburned
The leaves of freshly planted cherry laurel can also turn yellow because they suffered from “sunburn”. This phenomenon occurs especially with smaller young plants that have moved directly from the greenhouse culture to the open air. In the greenhouses these young plants got to know little UV radiation, now the leaves react sensitively in the open air, similar to pale white human skin on the sunny South Sea beach. The plant needs a while to adapt, then the yellow leaves disappear again.
Is the cherry laurel watering correct?
If the cherry laurel has been standing for a long time and only then gets yellow leaves, the next cause to be checked would be incorrect watering.
It can be some time ago, evergreen plants need a good quarter of a year before the first reactions can be seen in the leaves. It could e.g. For example, you may have overzealously watered your cherry laurel after planting it, you have long since stopped, but the consequences of this “flooding” are only now becoming apparent. If you leave the cherry laurel to the irrigation from the rain from now on (which is completely sufficient except for unusually long dry periods), the problem with the yellow leaves should also grow out of its own. By the way, cherry laurel doesn’t like waterlogging either, which brings us back to the subject of soil loosening.
The reason for the yellow leaves could also be the lack of watering, for example if you have left the cherry laurel too early to be watered by the rain. Then he may not have developed enough fine roots to help with water absorption and suffered from dry balls. That too can be a long time ago and will take at least as long to mature. From now on, please only pour the necessary amount more and resist the temptation to “spoil” the cherry laurel with excessive watering – then you would land directly a paragraph above.
A little help for assessing your past watering behavior: Under normal conditions, sufficient watering means that each plant should receive around 10 liters – a large bucket – of water per week and per meter of plant height.
Your cherry laurel needs fertilizer
If you have been fertilizing your cherry laurel with slow release fertilizer since it was first grown, it will grow quickly, if you let it it will grow more slowly, both variants should not cause yellow leaves (unless you are trying to cultivate cherry laurel in sand then you have to do each one Add fertilizer to the case).
Both variants shouldn’t cause yellow leaves – unless you’re fertilizing, but not with the mix of nutrients your cherry laurel needs. Then it begins to grow, but in the middle of growth it runs out of breath because it is missing a certain nutrient.
The best fertilizer for cherry laurel is organic (slow-acting) and calibrated (promotes drought resistance and winter hardiness) and is applied twice a year. In addition, cherry laurels sometimes suffer from iron deficiency. B. have remedied with a special iron fertilizer or suitable stone meal.
Too much fertilizer
A cherry laurel will almost certainly react with yellow leaves if you lime right next to it (other plants or the lawn). He doesn’t like a location that is too calcareous, chlorosis (also called “yellowing disease”) is preprogrammed here.
If this has happened to you, the countermeasure is laborious: The entire soil around the plant must then be loosened up deeply, it is best to add sand during the loosening, which makes the soil more permeable and ensures that too much lime is washed away here . You can also apply acidic coniferous compost in the over-lime area, you could also replace the soil, as is sometimes recommended.
If, however, not the whole cherry laurel “shines in yellow”, but only a few leaves express your displeasure, you can probably do without actions with digging fork and sand, acidic compost and time will help the cherry laurel on the jumps.
Adding fertilizer too late
Perhaps you meant it too well and fertilized your cherry laurel well into autumn. However, from late summer onwards you should avoid fertilizing with quite a bit of nitrogen, because you can stimulate the cherry laurel to grow again vigorously with such a fertilizer. The shoots that are still produced can then hardly become lignified, which makes the cherry laurel significantly more sensitive to frost.
At this time he should better prepare for the winter dormancy and let the shoots developed in the first half of the season mature so that they can withstand the winter cold. You can help the cherry laurel with a calibrated fertilizer in late summer, potash fertilizer helps with the ripening of the shoots and thus increases the frost resistance a little.
Incorrect trimming of the cherry laurel
If the delinquent is a cherry laurel hedge, the discoloration could be due to the wrong cut (time).
Cherry laurel hedges are best pruned before they sprout – if you take your time until the end of June (theoretically possible, cherry laurel only needs to be pruned once a year), all new leaves will already be there. Now cut these very often in the middle, this will result in discolored leaves, at least if you use an electric hedge trimmer.
Before responding to the recommendation to prune later and avoid this leaf division and discoloration, think twice by pruning the hedge with hand-held secateurs. This means that you should cut off each branch individually, which is not even a suitable method for normal-employed people for 50 cm of hedge.
Frost damage in winter
The home of the cherry laurel is in Asia Minor, and it is a little warmer there than here. Cherry laurel is frost hardy with us, but “just about”, depending on the variety a little more or not so much. If you live in a rough area of Germany, it is first important that you make sure that you are purchasing one of the really good, frost-hardy cherry laurel varieties. When winter “really hits”, it could also get too cold for these varieties, especially with young plants there is occasional frostbite.
If the cherry laurel has gotten too cold, it can produce yellow or brownish leaves. These discolourations develop especially when, at the end of January or February, after an icy cold night, noticeably warming rays of the sun hit the leaves directly. Then the moisture in the leaves evaporates, but if the ground is still deeply frozen, the cherry laurel cannot draw water through the roots, so it actually suffers from a lack of water than from frostbite. If it is suddenly very cold but sunny in early spring, you could prevent such damage by covering the cherry laurel with towels to protect it from the sun’s rays. Certainly difficult for a whole cherry laurel hedge, but for a cherry laurel in a bucket, for example. B. quite an idea.
These discolourations, which actually represent damage caused by drought, can develop during the winter even without too much cold for another reason: the cherry laurel is evergreen, which means that it still needs water during its pause in growth. If you weren’t aware of this, it can quickly happen that you let your cherry laurel thirst during the winter, which then also ends in the development of yellow leaves.
You should therefore check the cherry laurel more often during the winter months for dryness in the root area, and whenever the ground is not frozen, water a little if in doubt. To prevent such damage caused by drought, you could apply a thick layer of bark mulch in autumn so that the soil in the root area is spared frost for a long time. However, in this case, too, occasional watering is recommended because the bark mulch in turn absorbs a large part of the rain, so less water can penetrate to the roots.
Is a cherry laurel disease to blame?
If the leaves are not consistently uniformly pale yellow, but rather blotchy yellow, the bacterial leaf blotch disease could be the cause. The pathogen is called “Pseudomonas syringae pv. Syringae” and at some point it causes holes in the leaves, but around them a pale yellow zone develops. The first measure here is to cut back into healthy wood, then the disease is combated.
If the leaves of the cherry laurel are yellow and withered at the same time, the causative agent of the shoot and tip drought could also be at work, a fungus called “Monilinia laxa”. It has to be fought, otherwise the yellow leaves will get brown edges and / or spots next, dry out completely and finally fall off, usually the whole branch follows. Only a strong cut back can help against it, which should definitely go a long way into the healthy wood.