By: Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer
Cherry laurels are flowering evergreen shrubs or small trees, which are commonly used in the landscape as hedges, privacy screens or windbreaks. In order for cherry laurel to perform well in the landscape, it does require maintenance such as regular pruning and fertilizing. Continue reading to learn how to fertilize a cherry laurel shrub.
Do Cherry Laurels Need Fertilizer?
Cherry laurels have many benefits in the landscape. They tolerate full sun to shade, drought, and salt spray. Cherry laurel plants are also resistant to many common pests and diseases. However, they are not so tolerant of over fertilization. When fertilizing cherry laurels, it is important to follow all fertilizer labels and instructions carefully to avoid burning cherry laurel roots and significantly damaging these plants.
That being said, cherry laurels will benefit from an annual application of fertilizer. Fertilizing once a year will help keep cherry laurel foliage green and lush, and also maintain prolific white, fragrant blooms. Cherry laurel feeding can be done with fertilizers formulated for ornamental trees or evergreen fertilizer.
Because cherry laurels prefer slightly acidic soil, evergreen fertilizer oftentimes releases acid into the soil to meet the requirements of acidic-loving evergreens. It may be wise to alternate between evergreen fertilizer and ornamental tree fertilizer to meet all of cherry laurel’s nutritional requirements.
How Much Fertilizer Do Cherry Laurels Need?
Determining how much fertilizer cherry laurels need can seem tricky. However, using a granular slow release fertilizer when fertilizing cherry laurels can reduce stress on you as the grower and also reduce stress to the plant from over fertilizing.
Slow release fertilizers usually have easy to follow printed instructions on how much fertilizer to apply based on the plant’s trunk or drip line diameter. When fertilizing anything, it is very important to follow the product’s directions.
Slow release fertilizers allow low doses of fertilizer to slowly seep into the plant’s root zone over a period of time. When using slow release fertilizers for cherry laurel feeding, it is recommended to apply the fertilizer along the plant’s drip line in fall. While cherry laurels are evergreen, they do go through a dormant period in winter when the plant rests, stores energy and does not produce any growth. By fertilizing cherry laurels with slow release fertilizer during this dormancy period, the plant’s energy stores are boosted for optimal spring growth.
In a bind, water soluble instant fertilizers can be applied in early spring, if fertilizing in fall was not an option.
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Cherry Laurel: Expert Tips For Planting, Pruning And Care
The evergreen cherry laurel offers perfect privacy protection as a hedge. We show you what to consider when planting, pruning, and caring for it. Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) is a popular hedge plant not only because of its good growth and dense, evergreen leaves. Unlike other members of the rose family (Rosaceae), this robust plant can cope well with almost any location and its demands on the soil are also kept within limits.
However, a little help is needed for good growth. Sufficient fertilization is therefore an absolute must and provides a good basis for pruning. We will show you how to plant your cherry laurel and, with a little care, quickly grow it into an imposing hedge that will give you your well-deserved privacy.
- Buy Cherry Laurel
- Cherry Laurel Varieties: Also Suitable As Hedges?
- Planting Cherry Laurel
- When Should You Plant It?
- Step By Step Planting Instructions
- Propagate Cherry Laurel Yourself
- Care For Cherry Laurel
- Pruning Cherry Laurel
- Cherry Laurel: Diseases And Poor Growth
- Cherry Laurel Leaves Turning Yellow And Brown
- Cherry Laurel Loses Leave
- Cherry Laurel Not Growing
- Common Pests And Diseases
Answer #1 · Gardenality.com's Answer · Hi Richard - you can feed Schip Laurel as you would most other evergreen shrubs. I fertilize laurels after they bloom in spring with a well-balanced "shrub and tree" or "azalea, camellia rhododendron" type fertilizer. If you have a deer problem consider using Milorganite fertilizer. It works great, is totally non-burning, and repels deer. I always use a granule fertilizer as opposed to a liquid water soluble one. Follow instructions on the product label for application methods and rates. A late summer or early fall feeding can be done if the foliage looks a little lighter green than it should. Sometimes I might supplement with chelated iron or soil sulfur if the leaves are very pale or yellowing.
Spread the fertilizer around the perimeter of the plant as this is where most of the feeder roots are. If there is thick mulch you might want to rake this back to apply the fertilizer on top of the ground, then replacing the mulch. Mulch should be no thicker than two inches and be kept a few inches away from the trunk of the plant.
Let us know if you need more details or have any other questions.
To establish cherry laurels successfully in your landscape, here are tips for new and established plants.
- Check the soil drainage and make sure there are no downspouts dumping water in the site.
- Before planting, if the roots are root-bound within the container, make several cuts along the outside of the root ball and tease the roots out so they can establish into the surrounding soil. (See Planting Process.)
- Do not plant too deeply. Dig the planting hole deep enough to accommodate the plant with the top of the root ball level with or slightly above ground level.
- Mulch should be no thicker than 2-3 inches. Keep it several inches away from the stems of the plants.
- Check the soil moisture of new plants weekly and water deeply. Water established plants during dry periods.
If you notice problems with your shrubs during the growing season, we are happy to help diagnose what you are dealing with. Please send your questions and clear photos to the Home & Garden Information Center’s Ask an Expert service.
By Marian Hengemihle, Maryland Certified Professional Horticulturist, Consultant, University of Maryland Extension Home & Garden Information Center