Skip Laurel Care

yankee_in_va(z7 VA)March 15, 2006

Last year I planted five four-foot skip laurels. Most have done well. One died and I took it back and got a two foot replacement (two footer was all they had at the time). The replacement is not doing well and it almost completely dead. I tried removing most of the dead leaves so it could focus on what was still alive. I did this with one of the others that once struggled and it now seems fine. Could it be the soil at the location? It is in-line with three others, so I don't think the conditions are very different at all. Is there anything I can do to try to save this little guy?

Also, any advice for how to care for the ones that are doing ok? I haven't fertilized them. Should I be watering them in this dry March. There are other signs of growth in the yard, with the grass getting going and the Bradford Pear blooming.

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waplummer(Z5 NY)

What is a skip laurel?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 10:02AM
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yankee_in_va(z7 VA)

aka Prunus laurocerasus 'Schipkaensis'

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 10:15AM
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yankee_in_va(z7 VA)


I've googled all I can and can't find anything about fertilizing these laurels. I don't see them listed as acid-loving, so I am a little hesitant to give them Hollytone.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 8:16PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Replacement faltering in same hole is a red flag. I'd dig around and look for signs of trouble in the ground.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 3:39AM
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yankee_in_va(z7 VA)

What should I be on the lookout for?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 9:30AM
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I had similar problems with establishing several Prunus laurocerasus 'Otto Luyken' shrubs, some flourishing and a couple doing poorly only a few yards away. My garden center emphasized that they require both excellent drainage and moist soil. It looked as if they were growing in the same soil, lined up in a row, but actually a brick pathway and some paving made a big difference in how wet/dry the soil would be for the two that were dying. Soil that was dry on top but soggy underneath, plus summer heat, gave them root problems.

As recommended, I dug up both bushes and reworked the soil quite a bit -- creating wider and deeper planting holes with the new plants raised on a "plateau" in the center of the hole. The effect was to replant the shrubs higher than before on a mound with much better aeration and drainage. No problems since then. Hope this makes sense.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 1:01AM
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yankee_in_va(z7 VA)

Thanks for the reply. I'm going to dig up the struggling one today and move him to another place wiht lotes of soil amendments and see if he can bounce back.

Any tips on if/when/how to fertilize these laurels, particularly the ones that are doing ok? Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 10:06AM
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Here's the advice from Monrovia Nurseries on their web site:

Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Feed with a general purpose fertilizer before new growth begins in spring.

Here is a link that might be useful: Advice about skip laurels

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 11:49PM
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yankee_in_va(z7 VA)

Thanks, hollygrove.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2006 at 8:29AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Around here Prunus laurocerasus is a reseeding pest, so skipping their care is definitely in order.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2006 at 1:44AM
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Almost two years ago I planted four 4'tall Skip Laurels. The one I planted on the westside along a privacy fence line and under the eastside of an oak tree is doing great and flowers nicely. I did hand water some potted trees, under that oak tree, almost daily during our drought all last summer. Such watering is most likely what provided enough moisture for that Laurel even though I did not concentrate on watering it as much as I focused on watering the potted trees.

My other three Skip laurels were planted farther north along the same fence line and the ground sloped slightly for proper water drainage. The problem I encountered was that two of those got too much water from my neighbor's improperly draining backyard rain or yard watering runoff.

All three continued to struggle that first season, but by the next Spring I clearly could see two of them were in trouble and needed to be raised. I actually raised all three of those which were planted slightly closer together. I had to baby all of those raised ones with hand watering almost every day, but the one with the worst root damage from previously sitting in too much water, prior to my raising them, still died. This last fall, I replace that one, and even though we have had a dry winter; I did not have to water it much, and it is doing fine. But still this spring those three do not look like they are going to bloom as nicely as the one farther up the fence line and is planted under my mature oak tree.

Hopefully if this summer I baby the three elevated ones, they will get the chance to establish a better root system and finally catch up with the other one.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2006 at 3:29PM
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I too have problems with the Skip Laurels. I was out pruning today and am very concerned because I have tons of yellow leaves as well as the numerous flower stems that are going to seed. I enjoyed the flowers in the spring but the stems from the flowers hang on and drain energy as well as look ugly. I am really struggling with these plants. They were not my choice and I don't think I would choose them in the future. They were ment to be privacy bushes. Would Miracle Gro work? Last year I pounded food stakes into the ground. Perhaps I need to go get some more!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 10:11PM
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I have three skip laurels which were 6-7 footers when purchased......two are in great shape but one is in poor shape. I have had to cut away the dead branches and only have half a spindly plat now - and the remaing leaves are drying out. This plant has hardly any of the new flower shoots while the others have a ton.

If I cut all the branches down to a foot or two - and transplant it - will it ever come back? I complained to the nursery and they said - oh the skip is a "marginal" plant in zone 6 - and wouldnt replace it!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 9:17AM
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