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The cherry laurel is often cultivated in hedges in the local latitudes. Because the evergreen plant offers ideal privacy protection at any time of the year. It is also a hardy plant. But even the laurel cherry is not immune to diseases that can result from pests, fungal infections or viruses. The following article deals with which diseases there are on cherry laurel, how they are recognized and treated.

Recognizing and combating diseases on the cherry laurel

If the cherry laurel suddenly shows signs that it is not feeling well, then the causes for this must be found. As a rule, the leaves and also the branches show irregularities in colour, shape or growth when the plant is diseased. It is now important to find out which disease it is and how it can be combated. The eight most common diseases caused by fungi, viruses or pests include the following:

  • leaf edge necrosis
  • vine weevil
  • powdery mildew
  • Wrong mildew
  • frost damage
  • nectaries
  • shotgun disease
  • branch drought
Cherry laurel with berries

leaf edge necrosis

If the older leaves of the laurel cherry first turn brown at the edges and the leaf later becomes dry overall and falls off, then it may be a case of leaf edge necrosis. This disease is caused by a wrong watering caused. If there is too much sodium in the water, this will damage the plant. If the symptoms are recognized, the following steps should be taken:

  • remove damaged leaves
  • look out for new damaged leaves
  • Immediately use rainwater for watering
  • has less sodium than groundwater
  • Plant recovers over time

To prevent leaf edge necrosis, the cherry laurel should only be watered with rainwater, alternatively with filtered water. In this way, excess sodium can be avoided.

vine weevil

A very common pest, especially on the laurel cherry, is the vine weevil. Although this is not actually a disease, this pest can become a major problem for the plant. The adult nocturnal beetles eat the leaves, which indicates an infestation. The larvae, however, are the real problem. Because these live underground and feed on the roots, which means that the cherry laurel can die off altogether. If you find leaf damage, you should proceed as follows:

  • check for bugs
  • in the evening with a flashlight
  • then, as a rule, larvae are also in the soil
  • counteract this with nematodes
  • give with the water
  • with damaged roots, leaves turn yellow
  • dry out and fall off
  • Plant can no longer be saved in the event of major damage

If it is a cherry laurel cultivated as a solitaire, then the first aid measure can also be to dig up and examine the roots for larvae infestation. The plant is then replanted in a fresh substrate. As a precaution, it should also be watered with nematodes.

ridged weevil

powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is a very common fungal disease that can also affect cherry laurel if conditions are right for the fungus. With laurel cherry, however, the symptoms look a little different. Because Podosphaera tridactyla forms small bulges on the upper side of the leaves. The young leaves in particular are affected by the fungus, but older leaves are usually not affected. The leaves are infected with the fungus via the underside of the leaves, the epidermis dies off, which results in deformations and cracks. Caution and action is required if the following symptoms appear:

  • young shoots and leaves turn bright
  • Leaves don't get big
  • Leaves curl
  • Detect infestation with a magnifying glass
  • white, small fungal spores
  • Remove leaves and shoots
  • dispose of in the residual waste
  • spray with commercially available sulphur

As a preventative measure, the cherry laurel should not be cut in summer, when the new leaves are particularly at risk. A cut in spring or late winter is better here.

Powdery mildew on a willow

Wrong mildew

If downy mildew appears on the plant, it can be recognized by a white mold on the underside of the leaf. If a leaf curls, you should look for clues, because the downy mildew can damage the appearance of the laurel cherry. If an infestation is detected, the following steps should be taken immediately:

  • Harmful mostly in autumn
  • Plants affected in summer are weakened
  • check the ground conditions here
  • replace substrate if necessary
  • must be permeable
  • Cut off affected shoots and leaves
  • dispose of in the residual waste
  • in spring new shoots and leaves appear
  • any holes in the hedge grow over
  • Spray with commercially available agents against downy mildew

frost damage

Even if cherry laurel is actually hardy, frost damage can still occur on the leaves. To prevent viruses, bacteria or fungi from penetrating through the damaged shoots and leaves, you should remove them with sharp and disinfected secateurs. You can then easily dispose of the affected parts of the plant in the compost. Frost damage can be prevented as follows:

  • mulch soil
  • lay plant fleece over the hedge in severe frost
  • Wrap solitaire with plant fleece


If there are spots on the underside of the leaves of the laurel cherry, then it is usually only a supposed damage. Actually, these nectaries are just the glands from which the sugary cell juice can escape. Insects use it for food, but unfortunately it also attracts aphids. The nectaries show up first in green, then from reddish to brown and black. But this abnormality is not a cause for concern and is actually completely normal with cherry laurel.

shotgun disease

The fungus Stigmina carpophila causes shotgun disease, which is common on Prunus laurocerasus. Because in the local latitudes it is often still very damp and wet, especially in spring, the optimal living conditions for this fungus. Fighting the disease should be initiated immediately after detection as follows:

  • Outbreak between May and June
  • young leaves are affected
  • yellow, unevenly marbled areas
  • die off
  • fall in a circle from the affected leaf
  • remove all affected leaves and shoots
  • don't put it in the compost
  • Otherwise, the fungus will spread throughout the garden
  • treat with fungicide

If the new shoot remains healthy after treatment, then it can be assumed that the disease has been defeated. To prevent another outbreak, you should also remove all fallen leaves from under the plant, otherwise the fungal spores can survive here until next year. The disease is not life-threatening, but reduces the ornamental appearance of the hedge.

Shotgun disease on a cherry tree

Branch Drought (Peak Drought)

The twig or tip wilt is also a fungal infestation, the fungus Monilia laxa. In order to be able to recognize and combat this, the symptoms must be known. Twigs and the tips of the shoots turn dark and hang limp, as can also be the case with frost damage. The flowers of Prunus laurocerasus are also often affected. When the branch droops, you should act as follows immediately:

  • remove all affected branches and shoots
  • right at the base
  • not just the affected areas
  • don't put it in the compost
  • Twigs are highly contagious to other plants
  • put in the residual waste, tightly sealed
  • alternatively burn
  • Obtain product against branch dryness in the trade
  • use according to the manufacturer's instructions
Monilia peak drought on apple tree

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