BriggsyBriggsy Posts: 71


We have a very large bay tree with multiple stems - photo below.

We intend on building a large shed in the vicinity and will need to cut this back. Also I think a tidy up would improve it as it is stragly the top growth does not look to healthy.

Any suggestions on technique/when to undertake this task  would be appreciated.




  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,221

    Bay trees are a type of laurel and are quite robust enough to take a pruning. Just cut off what needs to be cut off, being careful to trim the branches neatly and leaving no snags to collect infection.

    Then wander the streets asking people if they want t buy any bay leaves.image

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,024

    I like the last idea wb, I've got one of these to deal with as well.


  • BriggsyBriggsy Posts: 71

    Thanks waterbutts,

    Is there a good time of year for such activity or are they happy what ever the weather?

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,221

    I would choose a dry day if you don't want to be showered with water. I wouldn't do it when it's frosty or snowy (not likely in August).image

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    Late spring's best for pruning a tree. If you're looking to remove a substantial amount, best to do it over a couple of seasons. They grow like weeds here and are just about impossible to destroy when very young. Later, though, with some size, they don't react well to heavy pruning in one hit.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,024

    I can never find the right time for my bay, it's not been touched for years and is blocking the view from the landing window. Late spring is good for the bay but not for the birds, they think it's a block of flats. If I do it now there may be young regrowth that won't stand the winter. If I do it in winter I'm sure I'll upset it. So it's still growing.

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,221

    I suppose it all depends on when your shed is arriving.

  • Italophile - WHAT IS YOUR PICTURE????  I keep looking at it, but really can't make it out!  I just hope it's nothing rude!

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    DJ, it's my dear departed and much missed Old English Sheepdog, Dermott, eating. Here it is in full size:


    He'd just had a haircut. Apart from his head.

  • BriggsyBriggsy Posts: 71

    Shed should be going up late winter, however I have taken a rumage into the foliage - not an easy task due to rose bush and brambles-  however it appears to me that atground level there is one very large thick trunk (12"+) plus there are dozens of small branches/stems coming up from the ground. I could probably thin these out without any ill effect on the main plant & then tackle the rest over several years to bring back into a reasonable and healthy shape.

    I too have to consider the birds or in this case a pair or robins, they don't tolerate any other occupants and have the whole tree to themselves.

    Thanks for the tips.

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    You could easily take out those overgrown suckers without any problems, Briggsy.

  • BriggsyBriggsy Posts: 71

    That's what I thought. Up to a couple of meters the bulk of the foliage is from these. which should give us the clearance we need for the shed. The rose will just have to start again as it is growing through this to get to the main tree. Guess we can't have everything!

  • MowserMowser Posts: 1

    How hard can I prune back my bay tree-it is more of an enormous bush than a tree but it has taken over a large part of my patio now completely blocking a raised bed that I cannot plant in at the moment-it is so healthy I love using the leaves for cooking etc but want to get it back into shape-am worried if I prune too hard I will lose it.  

  • 4Kate4Kate Posts: 4

    I recently bought 3 lemon verbena plants which arrived by post.  I stood them in water overnight then potted them.  Now they look dry and sad..  Is there any hope for them?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,722

    Hi Kate image

    I think you should start a new thread with Lemon Verbena in the title, so that people who know the plant will see it and respond.

    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    In the meantime, Kate, I don't know how advanced your LVs are, but I have one in a pot that lives on the terrace. I cut it back heavily for winter and it overwinters with protection on the terrace where it gets mighty cold. Every year when I uncover it, it  looks like it's dead - very dry, very brown. Sure enough, it bounces back every year but it's always the last plant on the terrace to spring to life. They can be deceptive. Give yours a chance.

  • chrissieBchrissieB Posts: 772
    Autumn would be best for cutting it back. Pruning in summer is more likely to result in rapid new growth in response to the pruning. Pruning to control size is best done in Autumn/winter so hopefully that fits in quite well with your timing : )
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