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Planting new bay tree

Hi all,

Last year, our bay tree started to deteriorate and despite some helpful tips from the forum, it never repaired and is now definitely unsaveable! Looking to replant a new one directly into the ground but wanted to seek advice on how to plant a fully grown bay tree (will be purchasing from a local garden centre). As I’m taking out an old bay tree, how would you fertilise the soil to ensure it doesn’t suffer the same way?

The previous bay tree survived a good few years. 



  • B3B3 Posts: 26,432
    First you need to establish why the first one died . What is under the stones? Is that concrete to the right? That hedge around it would be taking all of the moisture. 
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Thanks for coming back on this. Picture attached that shows the ground under the stones. There is a healthy shoot growing from the ground in the 2nd photo. The concrete to the right is a single paving slab. 
  • B3B3 Posts: 26,432
    Has the hedge been there for as long as the bay tree?
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Yes, been there since we moved in a few years ago.
  • B3B3 Posts: 26,432
    It's a bit of a mystery why it upped and died then😊
    I really wouldn't get one that's too mature.  Improve the soil and get a youngish one that can establish itself  and keep it well-watered.. They grow quite quickly when they're happy. I have to prune mine about three times a year.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Thanks for the help - much appreciated. Any advice on improving the soil ahead of planting it?
  • B3B3 Posts: 26,432
    Have a look at the RHS website for more advice about soil etc.
     It's about 25 years since I planted mine so I don't remember. It was multi stemmed so I removed the lower leaves and plaited the stems to make a standard. Over the years, the stems fused to make one trunk. It was a slow process.You might not want to wait that long!

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • I think that in that situation I’d replace the dead bay with one in a large terracotta pot standing in the hedge circle. Planted in a mix of 3 parts John Innes No 3 and 1 part horticultural grit, I think it’ll be easier to monitor the soil conditions and amount of watering needed. 
    Bay needs quite a lot of regular watering in the spring and summer, but it hates standing in the wet so a pot would enable the good drainage it needs. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • I planted my bay tree about 10 years ago.

    After digging the hole I put a bucket of grit in the hole.

    Apart from giving it a watering can of diluted as normal tomato feed I do not feed or water it at all.

    i also shape it hard about 3 times a year to maintain a lollypop shape.

    It is in a south facing garden.

    Currently dark so cannot take a picture but one of the healthiest plants in my garden.
  • B3B3 Posts: 26,432
    Three times a year seems the norm @TheNoviceGardener😊
    In London. Keen but lazy.
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