Hello all. My tree is several years old, in a pot. Despite my neglect, it
has survived hot GA summers and frosts in the winter. I can't remember
ever cutting it back.
How would you experienced bay tree growers go about cleaning this guy up.
The main trunk of it is about 4-5 feet high, with a couple of shorter
pieces coming up from the root. It just looks really leggy and rough. Can
I safely just whack this tree down to a foot or so (or even more) and
count on it restarting itself in the spring?
Why if you live in Georgia would you punish a bay tree for so long in a
pot? Why not plant that baby and let her grow big and strong? We are in
Dallas (TX) and have grown bay trees for over 15 years. The ones in pots
will do alright, but the ones in the ground do great and over- winter with
no problem. Our biggest one is over 12 feet tall. Cutting them back is no
problem either. You can be brutal in cutting them back without feeling bad
about it. We had one that was about 5 feet tall and had suffered some
drought damage as a result of being in a pot and not getting enough water.
In my experience, they love water, but can't handle getting dry. At any
rate, we cut the 1" stalks all back to within 6" of the ground and watered
heavily. Soon we had a flourishing bay tree, as it is today.
Now, regarding the cuttings. That is a different story. My wife was quite
proud of herself (rightly so) after she did some cuttings and propagated
them to full trees. Her best results came from cuttings no larger in
diameter than about 1/4" to 3/8" simply stuck into some nice compost laden
soil and kept moist, and kept in a warm environment. I suggest keeping them
covered with some sort of "tent" to retain the moisture. Be very patient,
as bays are slow growers, but it's not rocket surgery. Once you see new
shoots, and hopefully new shoots from the roots, just transplant them. They
don't need babying, just good water and a nice organic fertilizing now and
Enjoy them and good luck.
Thanks, good stuff there. I'm keeping this one in a pot just because I
don't intend to live here forever and I'd like to take him with me
wherever I may go. He and my asparagus fern are the only plants I've had
to survive this long in a pot; all the others died due to negligence.
"rocket surgery"... heheh
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