Brown Leaves on Laurel Shrubs - Knowledgebase Question

Ellicott City, MD
Question by markjwinter
April 20, 1999
I planted 5 Laurels in front of my house last spring. They have a southern exposure with afternoon sun. They did great last summer and fall, but now the leaf tips on the outer-most leaves are turning brown on all of the plants. I applied Mir-acid three times last summer with the last application in mid-September. Could the brown leaves be associated with wind-burn or not enough water over the winter? Should I cut off the brown tips of the leaves or prune outer-most branches?

Answer from NGA
April 20, 1999


Your diagnoses sound accurate to me. If yours are mountain laurels (Kalmia latifolia), they actually prefer a bit of shade, especially from winter sun. Keep them well watered this summer, and mulch the soil with peat moss and pine needles to maintain moisture and acidity. Wait until after the shrubs are finished blooming, and then trim off the spent blooms, and trim as necessary to make them look good. In the fall, water them well. You may need to create a windbreak and shade to protect them from winter damage. Best of luck!

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