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Is my bay tree dead?

Apologies to all the expert gardeners but I’m a complete novice and have no idea what to do. I have two bay trees and one looks at deaths door! I’ve repotted twice, drilled extra holes for drainage and it’s made no difference. Help! At £100 a pop I’m not buying another! 


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,268
    Hello @sarah_belle4 and welcome to the forum :)

    What sort of compost have you repotted it in?  Mine is in a mix of John Innes No 3 loam-based compost and horticultural grit in proportions about 3:1. 

    If it's in ordinary multi-purpose compost that might well be causing a problem.  

    Also, the healthy one has some suckers growing from the rootball that need to be removed ... however, if you're careful how you remove them, ripping them 'downwards' away from the stem so that you get a bit of a 'heel' then you can use them as cuttings and grow yourself a new tree which you can train as a lollipop standard, in case your poorly one doesn't recover.

    That's how I grew mine ... it's nearly 20 years old now. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Thank you. That’s very helpful. 

    They are both potted in miracle grow compost so it’s odd that only one is on its deathbed. Just the standard stuff you buy at B&Q. 

    I’ll buy the no. 3 compost that you recommend and see if that makes any difference. I’ve done everything to try and revive it. It had some strange sucker bugs under the leaves and I cleaned every leaf one by one. They are more work than my toddler!

    thank you. 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,268
    Ah, were they scale insects?

    Yes, toddlers are easy peasy compared with plants ... but toddlers get harder, especially when they're big and phone you in the middle of the night from a Russian jail because they've gone travelling with the wrong sort of visa, cos they know best and mothers know nothing   :o 🤣
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Yes! That’s exactly what they were. On almost every leaf and I painstakingly took every one off! 

    Honestly I think I’d go for the Russian jail option at this point! Seriously though that sounds very worrying! 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,268
    edited November 2021
    They let him go next day and a family he was in touch with helped him to get the right visa ... he's been back several times since then (he works in the music business ... or did pre-covid lockdown ... but that's another story 😵)

    Your bay will be much happier now it's got rid of its 'passengers'.  But I would repot it in a mix of JI No 3 and hort. grit ... it'll give it more sustenance and help it to drain better than the ordinary compost.   :)

    The fibrous multi-purpose type potting mixes are really only suitable for short term plantings of containers, hanging baskets etc, or vegetables.  Longer term plantings need something more substantial. 

    Don't be shy about asking ... you're one of us now and we're always happy to help. 

    Good luck with the toddler 🤣
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

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