Question: what to do with a cold-ruined laurel?
Hello I would kindly like a tip about my laurel hedge 20 days ago we had temperatures at -12 -15 degrees and the plants have suffered a lot the leaves have turned yellow and the branches at the ends have dried up according to you they are dead otherwise what can I do thanks .
Answer: how to remedy the damage caused by frost
laurel (laurus nobilis) is an evergreen plant, a large shrub or a small tree, widespread in nature throughout the Mediterranean area; it is a garden plant, suitable to develop even in those areas where the minimum winter temperatures drop many degrees below zero, and even for quite long periods of time; in general the laurels are not damaged by snow or even by temperatures below -10 ° C.
Clear that, on the occasion of particularly cold and icy winters, it can happen that the frosts come to ruin the apex of the branches, both the leaves and the branches.
Frost causes the death of the cells that constitute leaves and twigs, which subsequently dry out or are the entry point for various fungal or bacterial or viral diseases; for this reason, in general, every winter we remove all the branches that the cold has ruined.
This operation is carried out to remove the parts of the plant that are already dead, which would become harmful if left in place; but winter cleaning is also useful for stimulating shrubs to produce new shoots, which will give rise to new branches and new leaves.
You can, indeed you must, quietly proceed with pruning, removing all the parts of the plant ruined by frost, even if this pruning is very intense and vigorous; when cutting the branches, be careful not to leave any portion damaged by frost on the plant, so check that the wood you strip with the cut is very healthy, free from dark spots or dark or strange colored areas.
After pruning remove all fallen leaves from the ground due to the frost and also the branches resulting from the same pruning; spread around the plants a little slow release granular fertilizer, which will be gradually dissolved by the spring rains; don't worry, it is not easy to kill a laurel, and your shrub will recover quickly, developing new branches and crowned eggs as soon as the spring warmth makes itself felt.
Next year remember to proceed with the same type of pruning, even if the plant does not suffer such heavy damages, in fact the pruning of these plants at the end of winter favors a luxuriant and vigorous development, and helps to maintain the dense and compact shrub .
Also the fertilization is to be repeated every year, the granular fertilizer in fact it takes about four months to completely dissolve, therefore already at the end of the summer you can repeat the fertilization; in spring fertilizers with a high nitrogen content are preferred, while autumn ones generally contain less, to the advantage of phosphorus and potassium. A light zappatina of the ground helps to make to penetrate the fertilizer and to maintain the ground better permeable from the water.