Sick Mountain Laurel

chescobob(z6b SEPA)June 22, 2005

I have 3 Mountain Laurel 'Keepsake'. One of them is developing browning on its leaves. Any ideas what this is? I will try to take a photo later. Thanks.

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Sally_D(z6b PA)

It could be a number of things. Likes ph below 6.0. Is it getting enough water? Is it in enough shade?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 1:15PM
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Hi Bob, I'm also in Chester Co. Is the laurel in a.m. sun only? P.M. sun would fry it.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 1:33PM
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chescobob(z6b SEPA)

Its getting P.M. sun. It does get water and the ground is acidic. It is in the low 6 PH range. I used leaf soil as an amendment treat in planting the 3 of them. The 1 in full sun does not have this and neither does the 3rd plant located just to the right of the one in the photo.

Mountain Laurel hate me. I lost 1 of 76 different plants that I planted last year but I know all three of these are going to die.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 6:10PM
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chescobob(z6b SEPA)

This is called leaf spot and it is supposedly not serious. It is caused by a fungus. I use Bayers on my roses and I will check to see if it will work on these.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 9:57PM
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chescobob(z6b SEPA)

At least, the description is consistent with the spots. I am going to take the sick leaves off and spray with Bayer Advanced Disease Control for Roses, Flowers & Shrubs Concentrate. That has been excellent for my roses. I began spraying the roses when they initially leafed-out and I have not had any black spot on them.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 7:15AM
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Hope that's the solution for you. Laurels have a rep. for being hard to grow, lost one myself -

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 12:47PM
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chescobob(z6b SEPA)

I think I am going to move the ML that is in mostly sun. I cannot believe I got suckered into buying ML again. . . but they looked so nice as they were being unloaded at the nursery. I lost 2 when I lived in MD.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 7:11AM
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kath_inseastpa(z6 PA)

Perhaps to try to mimic their native state, which is to be an understory shrub. So they like to be protected from winds, especially winter winds, and receive filtered sunlight. Also mulch with OAK leaves and/or pine needles to assist in creating the acidic soil these plants love.

I have four that I planted on a northern facing slope, which during midday are sheltered by hemlock branches from getting direct light. They will get some direct setting sun at a very low angle, but other than that it is all filtered light. In three years, they have all survived. However, one bloomed for the first time this year, one did not bloom this year, and the two bloomed again as they have each year.

During the first few years, I had leaves that looked like yours and also leaves with black spots, but right now all the leaves look fine. I think it takes a while for them to get over the shock of transplant and to acclimate to their new conditions. Also, mine do get some winter wind, so usually be early spring, there are discolored leaves on the plants that fall off and all turn healthy green again by summer.

Don't give up, just study your yard to find a protected spot for them. They don't grow fast, so they should remain as an understory and not outgrow the tree they have been placed under. Good luck!!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 8:00AM
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chescobob(z6b SEPA)


I did just that. Yesterday, I moved the third ML into a nook that is surrounded by the house, deck, and deck steps. It is alligned with the other 2 ML now and they all should get some sunlight and protection from wind. The one I added yesterday will get the least sunlight. All 3 were also planted with some leaf-soil to mimic their natural state. I added 3 azaleas to keep them happy.

I'm hoping that all 3 make it.

Plus, now I have the full sun site where the ML was for something that really wants full sun.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 8:35AM
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calabella(z6/ CT)

I have three Mountain Laurels on my Ct. property and they were here when we purchased the house over 30 years ago. I have cut them back several times (last time being 5 years ago) I noticed this morning that some of the leaves are turning yellow and quite a few have black spots on them. They all have flower heads budding but the leaves look terrible. Any suggestions. TIA

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 1:22PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

calabella - although they are evergreen, they don't keep their leaves forever. The average leaf probably hangs on for about 2 - 3 years on average and then will eventually yellow, with spotting in that manner, and drop to be replaced by new leaves. If there was one year along the way with optimum conditions and lots of new growth, that growth will eventually all age and reach an end of life, dropping leaves in a larger quantity then norrmally seen because there was so much of it to begin with of the same age. Sometimes stress (too dry or too wet) can accelerate that process but it is a normal process.

If your shrubs have been around that long, they know the climate quite well and have adapted, so I think you are just seeing a normal leaf drop. What might cause alarm bells would be if the leaves suddenly drooped and stayed that way for a prolonged time (when above freezing).

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 10:21AM
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chescobob(z6b SEPA)

Since this thread is back I will report that my 3 Mountain Laurel 'Keepsake' made it through the Winter and are very frisky and ready to bloom. They are now in shade with some afternoon sun. They seem to like that.

I believe the spots are called "leaf spot" and are a fungus. I sprayed with Bayers and it seemed to work.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 3:39PM
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derfy(5 MI)

five years i have tried and five years they die. I buy them in bloom in the spring. I have planted them on the north side and west side, makes no difference. I protect them in the winter with chicken wire and burlap and they come through just fine. BUT now the tips of the old leaves and new growth are turning black. This happens every time, eventually the entire leaf turns black and brittle and dies, eventually the entire plant dies.

Nothing on the inter net shows the problem. It's not leaf spot as their entire tip turns black.

I thought it was fert burn and haven't fertilized this time.

I know they grow in MI as i've seen healthy ones

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 9:08PM
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Moutain Lauel needs good drainage and a PH between 5.0 to 5.5. The good drainage is absolutely critical!!!! Plant them on a slight slope or mound for best results. Add sand and peat moss to the hole if you have clay soil.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 2:26PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

I love this plant. But the sad fact is they are fussy. They are hardy and grow fine under the right conditions, but only the right conditions. They want light but shade. They hate afternoon sun. They need good drainage, organic soil with a low pH. If they don't get that, they will languish, plain and simple. And you can't get anything past them, like making up for cruddy soil structure with fertilizers like Miracid. Ask me how I know, lol!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 6:15PM
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derfy(5 MI)

I'm back

I have babied one for 3 years, covered with burlap in the winter. pH is fine, north side of house, planted high, shaded by Rhodies. Beautiful blooms this year and last year. Plenty of new growth and then it starts.

Leaves turn brown at the tips then entirely brown, brittle, fall off and eventually branch die. One branch at a time. Just like all the other years. Daconil has no effect

The only difference this year it's been 95-100 for a couple of weeks and no rain. BUT i've been soaking with a hose

Three years ago i sent an entire dead bush to Mi State and they came back with a variety of diseases.

Doesn't make sense as 10 miles north of me they are growing in a yard with NO T L C.

I give up

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 9:44PM
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