The Q&A Archives: Mountain laurel

Question: I had three Mountain Laurels (

Answer: These plants are not heavy feeders and the faast acting urea could possibly damage their delicate roots. These plants should only be given a slow release fertilizer in light applications. Yellowing on these is not likely to be due to a lack of nitrogen. It is more likely to be due to planting too deeply, poorly drained soil, too high a pH, improper watering or possibly too much sunlight. They do best in filtered shade or morning only sun. They should be planted at the same level as they grew before, no deeper. Planting too deeply will prevent air from reaching the roots and this can cause yellowing and dieback and ultimately will kill the plant. If your soil is heavy, they should be planted slightly high or in a raised bed or on a slope. The soil should be organic and humusy, and evenly moist like a wrung out sponge. It should never be saturated and never dried out. Using two to three inches of organic mulch year round will help keep the soil damp and will also feed the soil slowly over time. Using an acidic mulch such as pine fines or small pieces of pine bark is a good idea. The soil pH much be acidic. If you have not tested it, you should do so. If the pH is too high, the leaves may show yellowing with green veins or iron chlorosis. If this is happening you can apply chelated iron (sold at the garden center) and begin adjusting the pH as indicated by the soil tests. Your local county extension should be able to help you with the testing and adjusting. I hope this helps.

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