Holes in Laurel Leaves: Reasons and Solutions

Do you have a laurel tree in your yard and are wondering what is causing the holes in the leaves? This blog post will provide you with information about the different reasons why holes may form on laurel leaves, as well as solutions to correct the problem.

Why Are There Holes in My Laurel Leaves?

The two most likely reasons for holes in laurel leaves are insect pests or disease. Let’s take a closer look at each of these causes.

1. Insect Pests

Several different types of insects can cause holes in laurel leaves, including caterpillars, weevils, and leaf miners. These pests are attracted to the laurel tree because of its nutrient-rich leaves. You may not know you have an infestation of these pests until you see the damage they’ve done to your laurel leaves.

2. Fungal Disease

Laurel trees are vulnerable to shot hole disease, which is caused by a fungus. This disease can cause small, round holes to form on the leaves of the laurel tree. The leaves may also turn yellow or brown and fall off the tree prematurely.

These holes will be almost perfectly circular, and they’ll be scattered across the leaf. If you notice any of these symptoms on your laurel tree, it’s important to take action right away to prevent the spread of the disease.

How to Treat Laurel Leaves with Holes?

To treat insect pests, you can use a pesticide that is specifically designed to kill the type of insect that is infesting your laurel tree. You may need to apply the pesticide multiple times to completely get rid of the pests.

My favorite method of pest control is to use neem oil (Amazon link), which is a natural, plant-based oil that repels and kills many different types of insects. It’s safe to use around children and pets, and it won’t harm your plants.

Simply mix the neem oil with water according to the instructions on the bottle, and then spray it on your laurel leaves. You’ll need to reapply the neem oil every few weeks to keep the insects away.

To treat shot hole disease, you’ll need to remove all of the infected leaves from your laurel tree. Make sure to dispose of the infected leaves properly so that the disease doesn’t spread to other plants.

Fungicide should then be used to prevent the spread of the disease and get rid of the final few spores. Be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle carefully, as you don’t want to harm your laurel tree.

You should also take steps to improve the overall health of your laurel tree. This includes watering it regularly, fertilizing it, and protecting it from stressors like extreme heat or cold. By taking good care of your laurel tree, you’ll make it less susceptible to disease and pests.

shot hole
This looks like a case of shot hole

How to Keep Pests Away From Laurel Leaves?

To prevent insect pests from infesting your laurel tree, it’s important to keep the area around the tree clean. This means removing any dead leaves or branches, as well as any other debris that might attract insects.

You should also regularly inspect your laurel tree for signs of pests. If you see any holes in the leaves or notice that the leaves are turning yellow or brown, take action right away to prevent the problem from getting worse.

What Else Causes Holes in Laurel Leaves?

There are a few other more unlikely causes of holes in laurel leaves, including weather damage and physical damage.

Weather Damage

Hail or high winds can cause holes to form in laurel leaves. This type of damage is usually easy to spot, as the holes will be random and irregular in shape. There’s not much you can do to prevent weather damage, but you can take steps to protect your laurel tree from future damage by covering it with a tarp or burlap during severe weather.


Sometimes animals, such as birds or rodents, will eat holes in laurel leaves. This type of damage is usually easy to spot, as the holes will be random and irregular in shape. If you suspect that animals are eating your laurel leaves, you can take steps to deter them by covering the tree with netting or placing a fence around it.

Should I Prune Laurel Leaves with Holes?

It’s not usually necessary to prune laurel leaves with holes, as the leaves will eventually fall off on their own. If you want to speed up the process, you can gently remove the infected leaves from the tree.

Pruning is only necessary if your tree has a fungal disease that is causing the leaves to fall off. In this case, you’ll need to prune away the infected branches and leaves to prevent the disease from spreading.

Take care not to prune too much, as this can damage your laurel tree. If you’re not sure how much to prune, it’s best to consult with a professional.


In conclusion, holes in laurel leaves can be caused by insect pests, disease, or weather damage. If you take steps to keep your laurel tree healthy and free of pests, you’ll be less likely to experience problems with holes in the leaves.

If you do notice holes in your laurel leaves, take action right away to prevent further damage. And, if you’re not sure what’s causing the holes, it’s best to consult with a professional.

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