Cherry laurels are a popular plant used in commercial landscapes—they are hardy, very deer resistant, have a nice flower display, and are susceptible to two major insects: peachtree borer and white Prunicola scale. However, if cherry laurels are not planted in the correct soil, then they are more likely to become stressed and weakened. Stanton Gill, IPM specialists at the UMD extension program, says cherry laurels “perform poorly in heavy clay soils, especially ones that do not drain well.”
If this occurs, then the plant will be vulnerable to pests—especially peachtree borers. Females lay their eggs at the base of the plant, and are most active in early July. If you do not use a protectant spay, the larvae will invade and eat the cambial tissue and girdles of the plant. The University of Maryland extension program suggests using either bifenthrin (Onyx) or permethrin to control peachtree borers.
Also, if you see sap oozing at the base of the tree, there is a chance it is infested with peach borers. Be sure to keep an eye out for this.