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Bay Tree - are its roots poisonous to other plants?

staysailstaysail Posts: 4
We have a 10 foot bay tree made up of 5 stems which suckers like nobody's business.  I hoped to underplant the bare earth beneath it - good light, sheltered, dulcet Cornish air - but anything I put in there either fails to make any growth or just dies. If I move the plants that are poorly to a different bed they seem to take off in about a week or ten days. Is it possible that the roots are poisoning the soil? Is it anything to do with the white substance that the roots are covered with?
Thanks for any guidance!


  • B3B3 Posts: 15,945
    It's more likely that it's too dry and the bay would have used up the nutrients in the soil.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • staysailstaysail Posts: 4
    Well it's a start - I've kept everything watered but maybe mot enough.  Thanks - I'll keep trying with the London Pride.
  • B3B3 Posts: 15,945
    I rarely water my, in the ground, bay tree. Some self seeders try but few survive. However, outside the canopy, plants do fine. I'm sure the roots reach beyond the canopy and are not poisoning the neighbouring plants.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 23,513
    We have two inherited culinary bay shrubs here, both huge.   One is in full sun all day on the flat in a grassed area and we have raided its canopy to shoulder height so it is less "blocky" and any rain gets to its roots more easily.

    The other is in full sun room spring to autumn grows on a short slope between 2 levels behind the house.  There is a privet very close by on one side and a Hibiscus on the other plus opportunist weeds.

    Assuming your bay is the same, and not the hedging variety, the problem would seem to be poor soil and/or inadequate nutrients and water.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • staysailstaysail Posts: 4
    More muck then this autumn and I'll try again next year. Thanks for the helpful advice. :)
  • B3B3 Posts: 15,945
    And lots of water😊
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,840
    I’ve got similar, my hellebores are under it and do ok.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

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