having problems with my hedge of bay laurel. My section has two
levels, so I planted larger plants on the lower level and smaller
ones on the top, to bring the hedge to the same height quicker.
The larger plants are doing extremely well, but the smaller ones
are not so happy. The bark is coming away from the trunk and in
some cases the branches and the leaves are discolouring. Some branches
have died. Locals suggest rabbit damage causing disease, and wet
feet. I have sprayed the plants several times with systemic insecticide/fungicide,
but the problem persists. When I pulled out some of the worst plants,
the root system looked healthy, and where I had previously cut the
top off, the roots have reshooted.
actually seeing the plants it's hard to be certain, but it does
sound as if something has damaged the lower stems and branches,
cutting off sap flow to the upper parts. As it doesn't appear to
have affected the roots, it's unlikely to be wet feet. Rabbits can
certainly cause these sorts of symptoms, but their damage is usually
easy to recognise, with fresh bite marks visible where they've eaten
the bark away. And if they really like the taste of a plant they
can totally destroy newly planted ones.
Gardener, Issue 148, 2004, Page 26
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.