Ask a Question forum→Suffering Skip Laurels

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Huntington, NY
mauricef
Jun 6, 2020 4:31 PM CST
Good evening! I had a berm constructed and forty 5-6' Skip Laurels installed in the berm, this was an expensive job and I decided to go with my long time landscaper, he was eager to do it. I'm now regretting the decision because I think they may have been installed incorrectly, I hope I'm wrong.

The leaves on the Laurels are starting to droop and there are some yellow leaves (not many). Its been raining very frequently for the last several days and the berm is water logged. I went out today and exposed the crown of the root balls for every laurel. I measured the moisture with a moisture tester and it was off the chart both for the berm and the center of the root balls.

Some possibly relevant information:

- The berm is about two feet high and four feet wide, it is made entirely of top soil covered in mulch
- The Laurels came in burlap, the burlap ties were removed and the burlap was opened up but not removed.


My fear right now is that these laurels are drowning do to the heavy rains plus the berm being made of top soil.

My question is, should I be worried? Was it a big mistake to plant these in a berm made of topsoil? How can I tell the difference between overwatered, underwatered and transplant shock?

Thank you friends!

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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
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BigBill
Jun 6, 2020 4:50 PM CST
They were recently planted?
I used the same laurel about 15 years ago before I left Lynbrook.

If I remember correctly, these guys lost quite a few leaves after I planted them too. Fortunately, they did establish and at my ex's, they still look great.
If I were you, I would not be concerned. I planted mine in early July. I had to water them well in the heat. But you had a different problem, a monsoon!!! Take heart, they will be fine.
My suggestion is once the weather evens out, give them a little shot of plant food. Not a lot and not too often, kind of like a pick me up. They will like that and they will green up a bit.
Trust me, they will be just fine.

P.S. throw the moisture meter in the garbage! They are not at all accurate!! 🤔
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
[Last edited by BigBill - Jun 6, 2020 4:51 PM (+)]
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Huntington, NY
mauricef
Jun 6, 2020 4:54 PM CST
Thank you for the reply BigBill! I think my main worry is that the berm is so soggy and my understanding is that Laurel's don't do well in soggy soil, I have read about scary things like root rot etc. It's going to be dry the next few days so maybe it will dry out an no big deal, that's what I'm hoping for. I'm glad to hear yours recovered and that your ex is enjoying them *_*
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
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BigBill
Jun 6, 2020 4:58 PM CST
The nice part about a berm is that the slope with help them to dry out.
Initially I
Might have had 20% yellowing leaves on the bottom halves of 6 laurels, but they came around.

Root rot typically happens over a prolonged period of sogginess. Did you get a guarantee?
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Huntington, NY
mauricef
Jun 6, 2020 5:03 PM CST
I did get a guarantee of one year - I guess I'm just having images of a large number of these dying en-mass and leading to a messy and prolonged situation. Good point about root rot, it's only been a couple of day.

I think it's the topsoil berm that is tripping me up now, its very spongy. I have other laurels on a different part of my property and they are doing fantastic, the soil dries out much quicker than the topsoil in the berm.
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Jun 6, 2020 5:15 PM CST
All in due time Maurice, all in due time.

Do what I do. Get out the lawn chair recliner, get a glass with your favorite adult beverage and relax. They'll be fine, you'll be fine and we go happily onward!!
A good book will work. I like to listen to the birds and enjoy life. There isn't anything better then that my friend. Nothing but the best to you Sir!!
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Name: John
Pomona/Riverside CA (Zone 9a)
CPPgardener
Jun 6, 2020 5:16 PM CST
The berm should actually make the drainage better not worse since gravity pulls the water down and it doesn't sit around the roots.
Was the 'topsoil' actually soil or mostly organic matter?
“That which is, is.That which happens, happens.” Douglas Adams
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Jun 6, 2020 5:17 PM CST
I think that this is just bad timing CCP. Nobody likes to plant just before a monsoon.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Huntington, NY
mauricef
Jun 6, 2020 5:32 PM CST
The topsoil is mostly organic matter it is quite spongy, not soil like. The installer thought that the topsoil would be a positive vs just regular soil but now I'm learning he doesn't have much experience installing these and I don't get the sense he did much research
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Jun 6, 2020 5:45 PM CST
Topsoil in my experience is just organically richer soil. A better quality dirt if you will. I will firm up over time.
You can't really expect it to be cement like or super firm, it was recently put down. The rain didn't do anything to help with that.
Even if he installed the soil and rolled it over and over, it would not be that much firmer. Every thing takes time.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!

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