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By Taffy1

My Laurel bush has developed holes & areas suggestive of some kind of insect/catapiller infestation. Only become apparent over the past few weeks. There is no evidence of any kind of insect or infestation however. Have you any suggestions please?



I think the most likely culprits are winter moths. A lot of my plants have been ravaged by them in the past few months (had little time to go out and it has been very mild). They are small and brown in colour and curl up when disturbed from the plant. Squish em when you find them - put some paper around the Laurel and shake the plant, roll up the paper and put in recycling bin - that will get most of them.

Am also hoping the frosts will get them...

9 Nov, 2011


Prunus laurocerasus 'Rotundifolia' the Cherry Laurel, suffers from a leaf spot fungal disease or 'Shot Hole'. Most get it sooner than later. You could spray with a fungicide but as long as the shrub is growing well, I shouldn't bother. I could be wrong, but it is unlikely to be a catapillar as the leaves contain cyanide.

9 Nov, 2011


There are loads (over 20) of plants called Laurel. Only one genus (Prunus) has hydrocyanic acid (it is activated when 'attacked') and that is most active during summer months. Guessing, for the sake of discussion, that the "laurel" here may be Prunus Laurocerasus, then yes, it has 'cyanide'.

Shot hole disease start with dark spots that eventually fall out. As the question says that holes appeared quickly over a few weeks. That suggests either slugs/snails or winter moths to me.

9 Nov, 2011


Spray with bug killer in early spring and again during summer, as often as required - worked for me! No birds feeding in the laurel so pest control is okay. You could also try Rose Clear, to kill bugs and prevent disease entering leaves weakened by damage.

11 Nov, 2011

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