The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

By Lemnos

London, United Kingdom Gb

My neighbour has an enormous laurel tree/ no longer a bush. I had someone come and cut off a few branches that were hanging over my garden. Thinking it would reduce the dead laurel leaves the fall onto the lawn but it hasn’t and as an evergreen it sheds an awful lot of dead leaves throughout the year! Will the leaves harm my shrubs ? Or should I sweep them up as best I can and put in the council garden bin?



The leaves won't directly be a problem for your shrubs I wouldn't think but Laurel leaves contain arsenic which is a cumulative poison so it might affect bugs & worms in the area which may gradually cause problems.
Be careful handling them too often without rubber gloves, there might not be any dramatic, Agatha Christie poisoning outcomes but absorbing poisons through the skin's probably not a good idea?

5 Oct, 2018


in the long term they wont cause a problem. The true laurel, leaf crushed and mixed with alcohol, produces a 'killing medium/fluid' that used to be used kill butterflies etc. it contains cyanide not arsenic. But in nature it isn't a problem so no need to worry about the organisms in the garden.
if you are anxious then wear gloves when raking them up. as far as I am aware the dead leaves have very little chemical in them as it is a useful product that the plant will have reabsorbed from the leaf before it allowed it to fall.

5 Oct, 2018


Sorry, I meant cyanide.

5 Oct, 2018


There are occasional reports of people having problems after working with cherry laurel, Prunus laurocerasus, but they are very rare.

The plant doesn't contain cyanide, it contains chemicals that react to produce cyanide. This happens if the leaves or other plant material is crushed or chipped. Most of the time, this doesn't happen so no cyanide is produced.

If it does happen the process produces cyanide and benzaldehyde, the latter is the chemical that gives the almond smell people associate with cyanide.

Anyone working with cherry laurel who smells almonds should move away into the open air immediately and that will prevent any problems.

6 Oct, 2018


Belated thank you to all that kindly answered!

20 Jun, 2019

How do I say thanks?

Answer question


Previous question

« DIY Wormery?


Not found an answer?