Should Laurels Be Replaced In Kind If They Have Been Destroyed By Borers And Scale

Question From: P. Neubeg - Potomac, Maryland, United States
Q: Borers and scale have destroyed our mature laurels in front of our house. various garden centers have all said to replace them in kind rather than going to another shrub type. that is fine, because we like the evergreen quality ( we live just north of Washington DC in Maryland). I am concerned however that there might be larvae or pests remaining in the soil and so am cautious about replanting. What is your advice for replanting?

A: Borers may overwinter in the top three inches of the soil at the base of the shrub. Digging them out will remove them. Scale is not soil borne, but can be carried by wind, birds, animals, whatever. Both are common so you must keep an eye out for them and treat for them early. A systemic pesticide such as Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Insect Control will control the borders and the scale if it is soft scale. Take samples to your local independent garden center for an accurate ID. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.