When it comes to beautifying gardens and landscapes, skip laurels are one of the top choices by any plant lover because they look very captivating and are very easy to grow. But here’s one problem, their leaves turn yellow very suddenly and it looks as if they are dying.
Sadly, In most cases, the skip laurels die because of the wrong diagnosis of the problem. So, in this article, I have put all the information needed to help you to figure out what is behind the yellowing of the leaves of your skip laurels.
This is because only the right treatments can save your plant and for this, you need to know all the possible reasons for the yellowing so that you can compare the situation with your ones.
- Too much water
- Lack of sunlight
- Improper soil conditions
- Damage by the pests
- Fungal diseases
- Nutrient deficiencies &
- Environmental stress
These are the 7 most probable reasons for your skip laurel to turn yellow. So, without making any delay, let’s explore all of them–
Why Are My Skip Laurel Leaves Turning Yellow?
Skip laurels love a bit of repeated watering and this becomes the most problematic for them if it’s not handled properly. Because in this case, the plant can easily be overwatered and end up turning its leaves yellow.
You see when the skip laurels are overwatered, their roots become waterlogged and this stops the roots from getting enough oxygen. Also, the damaged roots cannot send many nutrients to the upper portion hence causing the yellowing.
Skip laurels can tolerate a bit of watering so don’t worry about that. Rather make sure you don’t overwater them.
So, before watering you have to check the moisture condition of the soil every time. For this, you can either use a moisture meter or you can have your index finger dipped into the soil to determine how moist the soil is.
It’s best to water when the top few inches of the soil surface seem dry. Normally they need water once a week during the summer and spring seasons. However, the watering schedule doesn’t always have to be the same.
For example, during the rainy season, you have to reduce the level of watering depending on the rain. If it’s raining too much then you can avoid watering as their need for water will be naturally fulfilled.
Again, during the dry times water them a bit more deeply and make sure the soil is moist enough but not waterlogged.
Besides, you can put a mulch layer of about 4-5 inches around your skip laurels though you have to remember to keep them a few inches away from their base. However, the mulch materials can sometimes attract some insects so you have to be cautious of them.
You can ward off the pests by using a safe insecticide on a regular basis or you can also try some home remedies for this.(Our pick: Monterey LG 6145 70% Neem Oil Ready-To-Spray Insecticide, Miticide, & Fungicide)
The thing is, some people prefer to water them with a tight schedule but in my experience, I’ve found that watering only when the soil is dry works the best.
Also, the amount of water you pour over your skip laurel needs some adjustments with temperature, humidity and rainfall as well.
For example, in high-temperature conditions, the soil will evaporate more water so in this case, you have to increase the amount of it. On the other hand, when the humidity is very high you need to use less water than usual.
2. Not Enough Sunlight
You see, the skip laurels love the sunlight and they usually require at least 6-7 hours of sunlight every day. When they are not getting this many light hours their leaves turn yellow.
This is because without enough sunlight they cannot produce much chlorophyll which is the main thing that keeps the leaves green color.
Besides, without enough sunlight, they will not be able to make enough food for them also. As a result, the plant will become very weak and droopy.
If you notice that your skip laurels aren’t getting enough sunlight then you have to prune off some branches of other trees that are blocking the sunlight in the garden.
Aside from that you can add some outdoor artificial lights as well that are specially made for skip laurels.
But if you have the skip laurels as potted plants then you can relocate them to someplace where they can get at least 7 hours of morning sun every day yet some hours of indirect sunlight from the afternoon sun.
3. Improper Soil Conditions
When the soil condition is not proper it kind of brings about overwatering issues indirectly. Imagine you are watering your newly planted skip laurels just fine but their leaves are still turning yellow.
This is because the soil is holding up almost all the water. Trust me I know how frustrating it can be!
So, that means if the soil condition is not correct then your skip laurel leaves will easily turn yellow no matter how accurately you water them. Meanwhile, the plant can catch deadly root rot fungus due to being wet in the soil for a long time.
Your skip laurels need well-draining and acidic soil with a lot of organic matter. Even alkaline soil can also cause yellowing of the leaves. So check the pH of your soil with a quick testing kit and see if the value shows over 8 then you have to amend the soil with some acidic fertilizer.
In this case, make sure you choose a good fertilizer that amends the soil and fulfills its nutrient requirement at the same time. (our pick: Espoma Organic Plant-Tone)
If the soil seems clayey then mix some sand or perlite with it very thoroughly to improve the drainage. You can also add compost, shredded leaves, and peat moss around your plant but don’t let them come in direct contact with the roots.
4. Pest Damage
Some pests like aphids, scale insects, whiteflies, and thrips cause damage to your skip laurels very frequently. They suck the cell sap from the leaves and this causes the leaves to turn yellow and drop off prematurely.
Besides, some of these insects secrete a sticky substance called honeydew that covers the entire leaf surface and one sort of fungus called sooty mold grows over it and makes the leaves black and dirty.
Besides, insect damage also makes the skip laurels very weak and makes them susceptible to many other diseases because they work as a vector and carry spores of fungi and viruses too.
These insects become difficult to control because they are very tiny and they can easily fly from plant to plant so it makes them very hard to notice.
So you have to keep an eye on the plant frequently and if you see the plant is infested with them you have to be quick in taking some action in treating the yellow leaves otherwise it might be too late to save the plant.
If there is too much infestation prune off some of the infected branches and wash off the rest of your skip laurels with a strong jet of water from a hose.
But this is not over yet. Because these pesky pests are hard to get rid of and they tend to come back again and again. This is why you have to pick the best pesticide for them and apply it by following the instructions in the package.
You can also try neem oil or horticultural oil as a preventive measure as well as killing the pests.
However, make sure you don’t apply them during the afternoon when the sun is spreading heat the most. And you have to remember not to overuse the pesticide because it can be fatal to your skip laurels.
Also, it’s a nice way of maintaining the pest population by releasing some natural predators like lace wigs, ladybugs, and parasitic wasps in the lawn which is easily available.
But If you want to get rid of these pests completely through an organic way then here is a recipe for natural insecticide for you –
Recipe 1:- Tomato Leaf Spray Insecticide Recipe:
- 1 cup of shredded tomato leaves
- 1 liter of water
- Let the shredded tomato leaves soak overnight in a cup of water so that they can infuse with the water
- Then strain all the leaves from the water
- Pour the infused water into a spray bottle
- Spray this water on both sides of your skip laurel leaves
- Repeat once or twice every week until the pest problem is solved.
Note: Whenever you make any homemade pesticides you have to make a trial dose first. Because sometimes the homemade recipes react with the plant adversely. So try this tomato leaf spray on a small leaf and wait for some time to see its effect on the leaf.
If the leaf burns then dilute the solution by adding some water and then try again on another leaf. If the pesticide doesn’t burn the leaf this time then you can start applying it on the whole skip laurel plant.
5. Fungal Disease
While fungal diseases are not a very common thing among the skip laurels, they can cause much damage during the highly humid weather with cold temperatures and also in rainy seasons.
Though it makes the leaves brown, it still makes some spots on the leaves that are yellow with a distinct halo.
It’s very important to control fungal diseases as soon as possible because they spread very fast through air and water to other plants in the garden.
Fungal diseases won’t go away easily so you have to use a fungicide on them. Make sure you pick a fungicide that is very effective in killing pathogens without doing any harm to your skip laurels.
Always follow the directions on the label of the fungicide package about how to prepare and how to use the chemical otherwise it might not be a very effective formulation.
Next up, make sure you prune off a few inches of the congested branches with a sterilized pruning tool to facilitate much airflow through the plant and it will also prevent the fungal spores from spreading to the nearby branches.
However when you dispose of the infected branches be very careful not to mix them up with any healthy branches. And don’t even leave them on the ground because these fungal pathogens can easily infect the soil.
In this case, wrap those pruned-off infected branches on a plastic sheet and throw them in the garbage can.
And if you are looking to kill these fungal enemies in a more natural way, we have got you covered. Here’s a recipe of homemade fungicide that can be made very easily in any kitchen–
Recipe:- Baking Soda Fungicide Recipe
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap (totally optional)
- A gallon of water
- Mix baking soda with a cup of water and stir it thoroughly
- Adding the dishwashing soap will increase the efficiency of the fungicide so try not to skip it
- When both the ingredients are mixed with a cup of water, add more water and make it to a gallon mark
- You cannot store this solution in a bottle so you always have to use a freshly prepared solution
- Spray this fungicide on both sides of your skip laurel leaves and continue once or twice a week until the plant recovers
6. Imbalanced Nutrition
Yellow leaves of your skip laurels can be a sign of their nutrient deficiency. This yellowing is mostly due to a lack of enough nitrogen in the soil. But it can be because of any nutrient element’s deficiency so it becomes very hard to figure out which element is in shortage.
However, checking the pH can give you an idea of it. For example, if the soil is too alkaline it can be iron deficiency. If there’s a deficiency of nitrogen the yellowing will be uniform and the older leaves will turn yellow first.
Since all of the nutrient deficiency turns the skip laurel leaves yellow and if you don’t seem to figure out the particular nutrient then you can use a fertilizer that has all the nutrients in a balanced amount.
Make sure you always follow the label direction of the fertilizer package. If you don’t follow the instructions properly you may end up overusing the fertilizer causing fertilizer burn in your leaves that in turn will definitely make your skip laurel leaves yellow.
You can also use any sulfur-based fertilizer to correct the alkaline soil of your garden to bring it to a neutral point. Besides, using organic compost is also a very good idea.
7. Environmental Stressors
Though skip laurels are very resilient against any environmental stresses still some situations become unbearable for them.
If the environment around them is too cold or too hot it can cause yellowing and wilting of leaves as a sign of their discomfort.
However, sometimes the skip laurel leaves will naturally turn yellow and shed some of them because of the age of the plant and this is completely acceptable.
If the temperature in your area drops below 40 F it can cause yellowing and even your skip laurel might die temporarily due to the freezing winds. Though when the temperature goes back to their range most of them come back to life on their own.
If you have them planted in your garden you have to wait for the winter season to be over but if you have potted skip laurels then you have to bring them inside your home when the temperature starts to drop.
Again if the weather becomes too hot for them it will cause them to turn yellow and sometimes even brown mostly starting from the top or around the edges of the leaves. In this case, you have to keep the soil moist and make sure of regular watering.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should I cut yellow leaves off my skip laurels?
Once the leaves turn yellow they will not return to green so it’s best if you cut them off. This way the plant will have more free space to allow more air and sunlight. Also cutting down the yellow leaves will make the skip laurel look more decent and beautiful. But be careful not to over-prune the plant as it can kill the plant due to pruning shock.
Will the yellow leaves on my skip laurels spread to other plants?
The yellow leaves on your skip laurel will not spread unless they are due to fungal pathogens. In case of a fungal attack, you have to use a fungicide and isolate the infected plant if possible to prevent the other plants from getting infected.
Does the type of water I give to my skip laurels matter?
Well, it does. If you use water that is polluted it can cause harm to the roots and even soil microorganisms as well. So you can use filtered water because it’s free of many harmful ions and chemicals. And to get this you can try a carbon filter.
Skip laurels have an amazing ability to recover very fast so you don’t have to worry about it so much. Just keep giving them what they need from time to time and you will see the results right in front of you.
Whenever their leaves start to turn yellow take sometime and figure out why this is happening through the help of this article.
Compare your skip laurel’s overall conditions with every section of this article and surely you’ll be able to match with your situation. Then you can take the necessary action.
I hope this article has helped you to find out why your skip laurel leaves are turning yellow. The good news is, if your cherry laurels are turning yellow as well then you can use the same article to help them too.
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