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Branches & leaves on spotted laurel turning black

Essex, United Kingdom Gb

I have a spotted laurel that I planted in my back garden about 14 years ago – it stands at about 5ft and has produced berries in the past. Over the last few months the branches and leaves thereof have, one by one, started turning black. I’ve removed these as and when I’ve noticed them but recently the problem has been getting worse – lots of black branches/leaves plus the leaves that are still green/yellow are drooping and looking quite sorry for themselves(!). This evening I mentioned the problem to my neighbour and she said she’d had something similar happen to her laurel not so long ago (it was situated just the other side of the fence to mine) and it hadn’t recovered. What I’d like to find out is: i) what is causing the problem ii) is it treatable (I’d be a bit upset to lose it after so long) iii) is it a coincidence that my neighbour seems to have had the same problem?

Incidentally, other plants around the laurel appear to be okay (jasmine, holly, conifer, buddleia).

Apologies if my question is a tad long-winded but I wanted to include as much information as possible to assist any of you green-fingered wise people to give your opinions/suggestions.

Many thanks



its possibly a root problem look for fungus (with your neighbour how about honey fungus) or vine weevil
if you can't see any above ground cause they are not a true laurel but aucuba maybe google to see if any specific problem affects them

9 Sep, 2009


had a quick look for you some nasty pictures of blackened stems etc. sees to be a fungus called phytopthera

9 Sep, 2009


Hello Pam. Thank you for your suggestion. I've googled phytophthera but I haven't found an exact match for what my spotted laurel has. The condition is noted for affecting Acers though which is another tree my neighbour lost (albeit not from the same spot). I'll try & take some photos tomorrow and upload them.

10 Sep, 2009


try googling aucuba japonica diseases thats where i found the photo's hope it helps

10 Sep, 2009

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