Laurus nobilis, also known as the Bay Laurel, is a large shrub or evergreen tree belonging to the Lauraceae family. Though the species is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe, Asia and Africa, the climate in the southern region of the United States provides an excellent habitat for the plant. Unfortunately, proper maintenance is required to prevent disease.
Various problems may persist if the Bay Laurel is not properly cared for. The most common concern involves fungi that will eventually deteriorate the foliage and prevent further growth. The most common symptoms include tiny dead spots or blotches known as leaf blight. Other fungi may produce a powdery white mildew on the upper surface of the leaves.
The aforementioned fungi are the result of a plant infection. Though the disease will rarely result in death, severe defoliation of the foliage and fruit may persist. Lack of air circulation and adequate sunshine may increase the risk of a fungus infection. The leaves may turn yellowish-brown or grey and produce spore masses that appear wet and slime-like. Problems may escalate in warm and humid climates.
The most common disease associated with the Bay Laurel is known as anthracnose. Anthracnose is similarly caused by a fungus that slowly deteriorates the foliage, stems and any fruit. This particular disease may produce pinkish patches on the stem of the plant and slowly turn the foliage from a green to a greyish-brown appearance.
Ensure the Bay Laurel receives full sunshine to obtain optimum growth. Of course, it is also important to supply the plant with adequate water. It is recommended that the soil is watered once a week. To prevent mildew, refrain from watering the foliage and instead focus on watering the base of the plant. Ensure the soil is well-drained and the plant resides in a location with adequate air circulation to reduce the risk of leaf blight.
Proper maintenance will significantly reduce the risk of infection and disease. Leaves that are infected with fungus may be pruned or removed to prevent further decay. If the plant remains infected, try a commercial fungicide that specifically treats the Bay Laurel. By implementing the proper prevention and control techniques, the species will not be limited by disease and eventually reach its full potential.
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