I would think fall is the best time.
I just pinch mine as I need leafs. I take from the ends to promote
bushier growth. They can grow up to 40 feet tall.
I just put a bunch of leafs in my pantry to stop the grain moths from
I have one in the back yard and we get frost all winter with a severe
frost maybe twice a winter. Doesn't even blink. Also if it needs pruning
you're not using enough! Give away leaves to your friends and yes, use
them in your cupboards and jars.
Here in western NC my bay and Meyer lemon trees go into the greenhouse
in winter. Maybe I can bring them into the house this winter since
the cat who liked the stand next to the window is no longer with us. I
could leave it inside until I have to turn the heat on in the
greenhouse when it is time to start my plants, probably February.
A friend of mine in Virginia Beach had a bay tree that was over 2
stories tall. She had it cut down because it was so close to the
house and the area is prone to hurricanes.
I'm in SE Tennessee and have to Bay trees that are in the ground, the
oldest has been there for ten years and is about 20 feet tall. Since I
ride a bike all year, I keep track of the temperature and the lowest it
has been in that time was 5 degrees F. The smaller has been planted
about 5 years and stands about 7' tall. The larger has been blooming for
4 years and the other looks like it will bloom next year. I pull leaves
all year and sometimes have to cut off whole branches to get out the
back door. If you top the tree or cut off branches partway, the tree
will bush, they respond well to pruning. My Mom grew a Bay on the
Delaware Bay for several years before her condo burned down and killed
the tree, they will withstand alot more than people believe. Today I
just decanted a batch of Bay extract and turned part of that into Bay
liquer, with a good size tree instead of one in a pot, one can play.
The Cook wrote:
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