Monday, February 18, 2008

Otto Luykens

I have about 15 Otto Luykens in my backyard at the edge of my screened porch and deck. Most of them do extremely well. They have been in the ground 4 years.

This past year 3 of them died. The first sign of a problem is when the leaves begin to have a yellowish tint to them. Not as rich and green as the other bushes. Some of the leaves begin turning bright yellow and then brown. Eventually the whole bush turns brown and dies.

One bush, 1/3 of the plant died. There is about 6 trunks coming out of the ground. 3 of them died, the rest of the bush is beautiful.

They receive plenty of water. They receive full sun. In the past I have used a Bayer product poured around the roots to fertilize, protect from fungus and insects. It has worked well.

This year I used Hollytone and an Ortho spray fungicide/insecticide. The plants that died are surrounded on both sides by plants that are doing very well.
Today I replaced the dead ones. I'm concerned because two of the bushes, that have done very well, now have some yellow leaves on them.

My location is about 40 miles North West of Washington DC. Otto Luykens are everywhere and do well.

Any suggestions?????
Jim

Anne's Response:

Otto Luyken is a cherry laurel, Prunus laurocerasus, are quite sensitive to moisture levels in the soil. Too much or too little soil moisture produces the symptoms you describe. It is not uncommon for one or two plants in a row of otherwise healthy plants show signs of moisture problems. Too much water may come from uneven run-off from roofs or a pocket of soil that holds more moisture for longer periods of time. Soil that is too dry may be caused by gravel or lack of organic material in the soil; air pockets around roots caused by not getting good contact with roots and soil at the time of planting produce the same effect. Too much fertilizer around one plant may cause a problem and that can occur when the plants on either side of a plant are higher in the ground so that fertilizer runs to the lower plant. I don’t know of a root rot virus that affects Otto Luykens to produce the problem you describe.

1 comment:

Colleen said...

I have the same issue - lost 2 last year and each one was among healthy otto luykens laurels. I have 2 more turning brown. I also live near D.C. - about 35 miles NW. I have an in-ground sprinkler system so I thought everyone was being evenly watered.