Garden

Sick Lauroceraso


Question: what struck my laurel?


hi, I wanted to ask you how to solve the problem that concerns a part of my laurel hedge, practically the leaves dry up on the whole external part and gradually coming up inside, how can I do?

Diseased Lauroceraso: Answer: the laurel-wax squeegee


Dear Massimiliano,
from the symptoms you describe your hedge has probably been affected by rameal cancers, caused by a fungus that typically strikes precisely the lauroceraso hedges; the symptoms are clear, because if these were other problems, such as droughts, excessive watering, very intense winter frosts, the ruined leaves would have spread a little over the whole hedge.
On the other hand, the rameal cancers strike in very specific areas, starting from the apex of the young branches, above all from the new and fresh shoots, and slowly descending along the branch, up to the branches from which the branch is carried; they can even reach the stem, causing the plant to die.
Unfortunately it is a disease for which there is no real cure, it is simply essential to remove the tissues affected by the fungus, before it spreads to the entire plant or to nearby plants.
Then get yourself a very sharp shear, and cut all the "spelacchiata" branches up to about 6-10 cm below the affected area, so as to make the cuts in the well healthy, light-colored wood, which still perhaps carries green leaves .
The removed branches must be burned; if you need to keep them for a while before burning them, keep them away from the plants in the garden, because they contain the pathogen that has infested your hedge, which could also infect other plants.
The cuts you have made on the hedge must be immediately covered with pruning mastic, containing a copper-based fungicide. After each single cut, disinfect the scissors with denatured alcohol, to avoid accidentally transporting the fungus from one branch to another.
Immediately after pruning, if in your garden there are no flowering plants, towards evening practice an anticryptogamic treatment, based on cupric salts, in order to avoid any possible transmission of the fungus to the plants close to your hedge; if possible, if it is not really necessary, avoid practicing other prunings in the weeks just after the removal of the cancers.
In fact the fungi of the ramane cancers are not able to attack the healthy wood, but they tend to penetrate in the plants from the sprouts, or from the cutting surfaces caused by the pruning, or from the broken branches or ruined by the bad weather.
Usually these cancers spread more quickly in plants that are fertilized very often with fertilizers rich in nitrogen, and also in very humid areas.
If you quickly remove all the diseased parts, closing the cuts with putty, your hedge should recover quickly, without giving you further problems.