Pruning and repotting my Bay Leaf plant

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that enjoys cooking.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

larry_stewart

Master Chef
Joined
Dec 25, 2006
Messages
5,593
Location
Long Island, New York
The past few years I've been overwintering my Bay Leaf plant in the garage. It's more predictable than leaving it out all winter to face the elements. This year I want to prune it, save the leaves that come off during the pruning process and repot it. Any one have any suggestions on the best way to do this without killing the plant ? Its a few years old, in a small pot and stands about 1 1/2 - 2 feet hight.
 

Attachments

  • Bay Leaf.jpg
    Bay Leaf.jpg
    313 KB · Views: 1

pepperhead212

Executive Chef
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
3,846
Location
Woodbury, NJ
I am pruning my bay this year (as well as all the rest of those I'm bringing inside!), because it has been 3 years for all of them, and if left too long, they get rootbound, and when they do, those leaf scale run rampant! Must be a thing about the immunity going down, when the roots get like that. Anyway, I do the same thing with all these plants - I trim a huge amount of the branches away, then do the same with the roots! It is amazing how fast they begin growing back. I keep my bay laurel in an 8 gallon fabric pot, and try to pull out any of those "suckers" that pop up every spring, as well as after I do this root pruning - much like the curry trees, but even more. I bring it all the way inside, like the other plants - not sure what the bay would do with the cold weather in a garage.

Here it is out on the deck now. You can see, it needs a lot of trimming!
Bay laurel, 9-14 by pepperhead212, on Flickr
 
Last edited:

larry_stewart

Master Chef
Joined
Dec 25, 2006
Messages
5,593
Location
Long Island, New York
Surprisingly my Bay did fine in the garage. I recently sided my house and got an insulated garage door, so I'm guessing the updated insulation kept the garage at aa more tolerable temp. Not that Im suggesting to store it there, and maybe I just got lucky. I usually use my garage as my transitional area from outside to in in the fall, and from inside to out in the spring. For the most part it has worked out ok.
 

Roll_Bones

Master Chef
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Messages
5,826
Location
Southeast US
I have 3 bay trees about 4' tall in pots. Growing very well. I am scurrying around trying to figure what to do with them this winter. I don't want to lose them.
I also considered my basement with a 8' grow light on a timer. I also have a few other plants I want to protect. And suggestions? My basement is dark BTW.
 

GotGarlic

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
May 9, 2007
Messages
27,234
Location
Southeastern Virginia
So you're saying that's more bay leaves than you can use, GG? :D
I think it's more than all of us can use in our lifetimes! ? It's getting to be time for me to get DH to prune it so I can set up a table in front of the house and let the neighbors know they can come get free bay leaves. I'll give them a recipe for Filipino chicken adobo - it calls for at least a half dozen.
 

Roll_Bones

Master Chef
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Messages
5,826
Location
Southeast US
Which USDA zone are you in? I'm in 8a in the southeastern corner of Virginia. My bay tree has been doing very well - too well lol - for years planted in the ground outside.
I think its 7-B? Northwest SC.
Yes, I do know of Bay Laurel planted outside here and doing well. Its an evergreen. But I'm not sure where I want to plant them and for some reason I have this feeling we will move sooner than later. I would hate to plant them and then have to leave them.
I know I'm being silly. But this feeling is with me.
 

pepperhead212

Executive Chef
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
3,846
Location
Woodbury, NJ
Are bay leaves one of those things in shortage in the markets? I don't think GG or I will have to worry about it! :LOL:

I trimmed the bay laurel, getting it ready to re-pot tomorrow. It was the worst one of the bunch out there, drying out quickly (in cool weather) after soaking the rootball, so it must be really badly rootbound. So I cut a large amount of the branches off - there might be a couple more I'll cut off -and tomorrow I'll re-pot it.
Trimmed bay leaves, getting plant ready to re-pot. 10-10 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Trimmed Bay Laurel, 10-10, ready for re-potting. by pepperhead212, on Flickr
 

GotGarlic

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
May 9, 2007
Messages
27,234
Location
Southeastern Virginia
Are bay leaves one of those things in shortage in the markets? I don't think GG or I will have to worry about it! :LOL:
Between the two of us, we could supply the entire community here! ?

I'll have DH trim ours back around Thanksgiving. My master gardener group has what we call Martha Stewart Night every year. We all bring evergreen and other cuttings from our gardens to our office and make wreaths and swags that we then sell at our farmers market downtown. It's a lot of fun.
 

Roll_Bones

Master Chef
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Messages
5,826
Location
Southeast US
I have 3 in pots as well Dave. Not as mature as yours. I notice bay laurel sends shoots out in all directions. So I have to be careful how I prune it.
These are included with my other plants I am over wintering.
Oh... How are you drying the leaves? I have dried some out on the counter and put into airtight jars. And I use some fresh as well.
 

Badjak

Senior Cook
Joined
Dec 24, 2010
Messages
209
My bay is outside as well. Struggling a bit right now because of heat, but it will go again when the rains start (I'm sure ;) )
 

pepperhead212

Executive Chef
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
3,846
Location
Woodbury, NJ
I pulled the pot off the BL today, and it was solid! Not as solid as the lime tree, which I had to cut off, but a photo shows the roots growing up, into the hydroton; I was surprised it hadn't grown through the fabric. I trimmed it down to about the same size as the lime tree, but only to about an 8 gal fabric pots. I "sifted" a bunch of the soil out of these roots, and used about 50/50 with the new. While doing this, and mixing the two together, I did something REALLY STUPID, and sliced the tip of my R index finger. Very quickly, I put my thumb over it (along with whatever dirt was there!), and the wheels started turning, wondering what on earth could have done this? Then it dawned on me - that knife, which was razor sharp, had slipped into the tub with the dirt! I blurted out something I can't print here, like "You dumb s#*®!" I went inside, rinsed the dirt off as much as possible, then took my thumb off the cut and rinsed it out, then poured some peroxide on it, rinsed, and more peroxide...eventually, the pain went down, and I dried it, put criss-cross Nexcare bandages on it (most waterproof, in my experience), and went out and got into the dirt again! :LOL:

The bay laurel is finished, and after I got it back up on the deck, I made a solution of Bt israelensis (to prevent fungus gnats), using some saved rain water (chlorine might kill the bacteria), and poured over 2 gal of the solution into the pot, before it was just starting to leak. I soaked the surface of other pots, too, but I'll do it again, before bringing them in.
A photo of the bay laurel, showing the roots growing up, into the mulch, after I pulled the pot off. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Trimmed root ball of bay laurel, showing the old boning knife I use to trim them. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Re-potted bay laurel, ready to come inside, once it gets cooler. by pepperhead212, on Flickr
 

Roll_Bones

Master Chef
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Messages
5,826
Location
Southeast US
@Roll_Bones I just air dry them - I save a few, but give most of them away, since I've always got the fresh ones to go to.
I am not used to fresh BL or even home dried. Seems the BL I buy in the store has more aroma?
Maybe I should dry them more? I am not even sure what type I have. I ordered them online and I think they were sold as Bay Laurel without any more information.
When I use the store bought, I can smell them as soon as they hit the hot oil. But with my homegrown there is little if any aroma.
Nice looking BL tree you got there Dave. I have three not as mature but beautiful. Very very healthy and dark green. I plan to plant them one day. They seem to thrive here in zone 7b. I think its 7b?
BTW I finished up my basement lighting yesterday and will just use the LED tubes that are present. Now I will wait for the first frost warning to bring them inside.
 

summer57

Senior Cook
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
286
Location
Vancouver
A friend has had a big Bay tree in-ground for years in Point Roberts, WA. Zone 8b, I think. Fresh bay is so much better than the dried leaves from the store.
I'm just across the border, same zone, and keep my Makrut Lime on the deck in a container most of the year. If it's super cold, I bring it in, near the window, until it warms up a bit.
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom