Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Problems With Otto Luyken Laurel

Cherry laurel cultivar Prunus laurocerasus "Otto Luyken" is a medium-sized, evergreen shrub often used as foundation plantings and hedges in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant zones 6 through 8. The leaves point upward and are dark green on top and pale underneath. In late spring, the plants are covered in fragrant, white flowers. Otto Luyken grows well in sun or shade, and presents only a few problems for gardeners.

Fragrance

Otto Luyken laurel flowers profusely, even in heavy shade, and the white flowers are heavily scented. The sweet scent draws bumblebees to the plant, so use the plant with caution near children's play areas. In addition, the fragrance is heavy enough to bother people sensitive to perfumes and other strong scents.

Drainage

All cherry laurels require excellent drainage and will decline in heavy, poorly-drained soil. If the soil remains wet, root rot will infect the plant. If the stem of the plant near the soil line is soft and black, the shrub is doomed, as there's no chemical cure for root rot. In heavy soils, plant Otto Luyken on a slope or mound to improve drainage, and make sure that mulch doesn't lay directly against the plant stem. Avoid planting Otto Luyken near downspouts.

  • Otto Luyken laurel flowers profusely, even in heavy shade, and the white flowers are heavily scented.
  • In heavy soils, plant Otto Luyken on a slope or mound to improve drainage, and make sure that mulch doesn't lay directly against the plant stem.

Fungal Disease

Otto Luyken is disease-resistant, but two fungal diseases occasionally bother cherry laurels. The first are Botryosphaeria, a genus of fungi that cause individual branches to die out. The second is Coryneum blight, known as "shot hole," which leaves circular holes in the leaves. Both diseases thrive in cool, moist weather. Don't use overhead sprinklers to water your shrubs, and if either disease is found, treat the plants with a fungicide.

Pruning

Otto Luyken typically grows 3 to 4 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide, but older specimens can reach up to 6 feet tall. If pruning is necessary, you'll find using a hedge clipper just results in a mass of raggedy leaves with brown edges. Instead, use hand pruners and trim back individual stems. Cherry laurels are fast growers, so pruning is a tedious job if you've planted a large number of shrubs. Plan ahead and site them where an extra foot or two of height won't be a problem.

  • Otto Luyken is disease-resistant, but two fungal diseases occasionally bother cherry laurels.
  • If pruning is necessary, you'll find using a hedge clipper just results in a mass of raggedy leaves with brown edges.

Related Articles

Common Diseases of Photinia Shrubs
Common Diseases of Photinia Shrubs
Diseases of the Cherry Laurel
Diseases of the Cherry Laurel
Laurel Shrub Diseases
Laurel Shrub Diseases
How to Care for a Privet Hedge
How to Care for a Privet Hedge
Privet Hedge Disease
Privet Hedge Disease
How to Care for an Andromeda Plant
How to Care for an Andromeda Plant
How to Diagnose Diseases on Shrubs and Hedges
How to Diagnose Diseases on Shrubs and Hedges
Leaf Diseases of the Rhododendron
Leaf Diseases of the Rhododendron
How to Troubleshoot White Powder on Shrubs
How to Troubleshoot White Powder on Shrubs
Highbush Cranberry Diseases
Highbush Cranberry Diseases
Can Boxwood Grow in the Shade?
Can Boxwood Grow in the Shade?
Fertilizing Hedges
Fertilizing Hedges
How to Care for Annabelle Hydrangea
How to Care for Annabelle Hydrangea
Garden Guides
×