Pest Alert – Mountain Laurel Leaf Blight

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Pest Alert

Mountain Laurel Leaf blight is caused by the fungus Diaporthe kalmiae (Phomopsis kalmiae). The disease can be distinguished from other leaf spots by the larger, circular, brown lesions that often develop a zonate pattern. The lesions frequently first appear near the margin or tip of the leaf, gradually enlarge, merge with other lesions, and result in the death of the entire leaf blade. The fungus may also spread from the leaf through the petiole into the twig, causing twig blight. Although Leaf Blight is rarely serious enough to kill plants, this year we are seeing the fungus finish off mountain laurels that are drought stressed from last summers lack of moisture especially on the shallow soils that you find on mountains.

mountain laurel leaf blight symptoms

Plants that suffered last year during the drought can be killed more easily.

partially defoliated mountain laurel

Written By

Steve Pettis, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionSteve Pettis, Jr.Extension Agent, Agriculture - Consumer and Commercial Horticulture Call Steve Email Steve N.C. Cooperative Extension, Henderson County Center
Updated on Oct 14, 2022
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