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By Mizzle

Ayrshire, Scotland Sco

Hello! Can anyone help me figure out what's going on with my bay trees?

I've had them for about 4 and a half years. One died and stayed dead for about a year and then this summer it started to grow again! I'm not sure whether to chop down the dead bit and let the young shoots do their thing or let the tallest shoot climb up the old trunk or just leave it altogether? Or replant it?!

The other one looks like it might be about to die too because some of its leaves have turned yellow. I haven't moved them or sprayed them or anything. Just made sure they were dehydrated.

Any advice on what to do with the resurrected one and how to prevent the same happening to the other one would be greatly appreciated.

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Sorry, that should say "weren't dehydrated " lol

6 Jul, 2017


I would chop the trunk of the first one off just above the new growth. It has been grafted or top worked and the top is dead. As far as the second one is concerned, bay trees although being evergreen will shed its old leaves. I would give them a feed with any general liquid fertiliser to green them up as they will quickly run out of nutrients in a container.

6 Jul, 2017


I agree. I would've said exactly the same thing.

6 Jul, 2017


Have you potted them into something larger during the time you've had them? If not, check they're not potbound by turning them out and seeing if the rootball has roots wrapped round and round and round. If it does, pot on into larger pots - its quite hard to keep a plant well hydrated if its potbound.

6 Jul, 2017


Unless you particularly want a standard the easiest thing to do after cutting the trunk down is to let it become a bush. I did this a decade or more ago and its still going strong, sitting tidily outside the back door just handy for getting the odd leaf or two.

6 Jul, 2017


Thanks for your responses everyone! I did re-pot them about 2 and a half years ago because the poor things were VERY pot bound. So I think I'll have a wee look to check if its needed again. Will take all your suggestions on board - I use the leaves a lot in my slow cooker and I just love them standing guard on my patio so its really worth saving them.

Thanks again xx

6 Jul, 2017


It would take a lot of work and patience to get the problem one back as a standard though. It will not get like that on its own. You would need to select the strongest straightest tallest shoot and remove all the others. Tie that shoot to a cane to ensure it grows straight and remove all the other shoots as they appear, which they will. Remove any side shoots on the main stem but leave leaves. Do this for several years and you should have a single stem with a bunch of leaves at the top. When the stem is the height to want you can let side branches grow from it. The whole process will take a long time and if you want a pair of standards it would be easier to replace the tree with another one and offer the bush one with trunk removed on Freecycle.
The reason the bought trees are grafted is because it takes so long to go through the process described!

7 Jul, 2017


Oh no stera that sounds like it would take an awfully long time to grow another standard! I'm not that patient! And I would grudge paying for another one when I have perfectly healthy leaves as it is...

It'll mean I'll have a standard on one side and a bush on the other though. I might have to rethink the layout :)

7 Jul, 2017


A case of Little and Large? Agree a rethink seems indicated - good luck. A change is as good as a rest or so they say.

8 Jul, 2017

How do I say thanks?

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