Answer: Shot hole disease, also called coryneum blight, can be a serious problem in landscape plants. The disease thrives under wet spring weather. While little can be done to control the disease once it has infected your laurel, you can take steps to keep it from attacking your plant again next spring.
The shot hole fungus overwinters inside infected buds and in twig lesions. The spores produced on lesions can remain alive for several months. They are spread by splashing rain or sprinkler irrigation water, and infect twigs, buds, blossoms or young leaves. Only the current season's growth, or new growth, is susceptible to infection. You can use both cultural practices and chemicals to control shot hole disease.
Start by pruning out all infected plant parts and removing them from the garden. Watch your laurel for signs of the disease this summer and prune out anything that looks suspicious. Next winter you can apply a bordeaux spray (lime sulfur) or a copper-based fungicide to protect next spring's new growth. Be sure to apply according to label directions.
Best wishes with your landscape!
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