British Columbia: Portuguese Laurel - Good & Bad

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by gr8outdoors, May 27, 2021.

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  1. gr8outdoors

    gr8outdoors Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    We live in Aldergrove BC on a large farm. About a year ago, we planted a large number of Portuguese Laurels (about 110) to grow out a hedge over the next few years on the front of our property. All came from the same farm, all were the same age, and all were in relatively the same condition (not super happy but OK) when they arrived.

    Our soil here is pretty much sand/gravel but per the Tree farms instructions, we planted them in a really nice 'garden mix' soil. The ditch was about 18 inches wide and about 20-24" deep when we transplanted them. The root balls fit nicely into the ditch and we were sure NOT to cover the top of the root ball with new soil. All were given a bit of bone meal (again per the nurseries instructions) when we transplanted. Fortunately, we have water near the shrubs so we were able to give them good water over the summer last year. None of the took off - but we didn't expect them to since they were freshly transplanted. All did bloom though.

    What we are finding now though is some of them have really taken off (see pictures) - they have really good new growth while others look like they are struggling (leaves curled, some leaves are yellow, and some trees are bare in many places - again see pictures). I have taken a few pictures to give you a good view of the few that are good and the many which seems like they need some love in some capacity - which we don't know what to do. We did give all of them some fresh soil again this spring to try and give them some fresh nutrients.

    What is odd - is that all the shrubs are getting ready to bloom - even the ones that aren't growing, have yellow leaves, and/or are bare.

    Anyways, any help on how we might be able to help the ones that aren't doing well - would be GREATLY appreciated. It would suck to loose them.

    Thanks,
    Curt
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Provide a grass free planting strip and cover it with organic mulch.
     
  3. gr8outdoors

    gr8outdoors Member

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    Ron,
    Thanks for replying so quickly. We did that when we planted them and then early this spring, we weeded and put down fresh soil. Should we weed again and then mulch? If so - can we also cover the top of the root ball?

    Thanks again for the help.
    Curt
     
  4. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    You certainly didn't get current, science-based advice from the grower. An excellent source of up-to-date gardening information for the west coast can be found on the Washington State University website: Linda Chalker-Scott | Washington State University

    I have been rereading Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott's article on planting trees and reasons why it is better not to amend the soil when you plant them. Also, bone meal is unnecessary. https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/soil-amendments.pdf

    @Ron B 's advice is definitely the way to go now. Do not put any kind of landscape cloth or other barrier under the mulch.

    Dr. C-S also advises arborists wood chips as the better way to add organic matter over time.
    https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/wood-chips.pdf
     

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