Sweet Bay Laurel Trees

Bay Laurel Needs 911

Ree added on October 21, 2017 | Answered

BACKGROUND: Seven months ago in March, a friend "fostered" a potted 4ft Bay Laurel for me (a gift among five from a lovely Vietnamese man who had gorgeous plants, but was moving away). I had no room for it at the time, but after just one month, my friend told me that although he'd been watering the Bay, it was severely dried out and losing leaves. NOW: I thought he had killed it, but he recently told me that it had put out a few new "shoots" so I picked it up today to try to revive it, and was shocked at its condition. The branches are severely dry and brittle and all of the remaining leaves are yellowed and totally dried out...but there are 4 long new shoots. It needs pruning BADLY, but I'm not sure how much I can cut back without killing it. This was a beautiful old plant that I really want to save if I can. Can you help? I have included before and after photos. Thank you for any advice you can provide. Lorri A., Chicago

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on October 21, 2017

I would say that the most likely culprit is that it is rootbound in its container. If the moisture never reaches the inside of the root zone, than it would show symptoms of not getting enough water. I recommend taking it out of its pot, and trying to remove some of the soil. Replace it with a Good potting soil and add dolomitic lime to the top. This will keep the pH level, and the new soil will drain, and accept moisture much better. Here is an article for general care of the plant in container: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/bay/container-grown-bay-trees.htm

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