Answer: Prunus laurocerasus (Common Cherrylaurel or English Laurel) is a large, potentially tree sized, shrub. It prefers a fertile, well drained yet moist and acid soil and is fairly flexible about light requirements. It is best pruned in early spring and is often sheared when used as a hedge. Otherwise, it can be shaped (it has a naturally mounded form) by removing only wayward shoots. Since it is growing in a barrel with a restricted root run you will probably find it necessary to restrict its size in order to maintain an adequate soil moisture level. Fertilizer at a 3-1-2 ratio is suggested, although you would not want to overfeed it and stimulate excessive growth. The foliage problems may be caused by low soil moisture combined with winter sun and wind, or might be caused by a soil imbalance. Be sure it is in an acid mix and try fertilizing with a product containing "micronutrients" and/or topdress with compost. You might also check the roots and see if it needs to be root pruned and repotted or moved to a larger container.
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