Edible Articles: Laurus

Fields: Bay Laural Problem

Bay Laural Problem

From: michelle <mcwright@worldnet.att.net>
Newsgroups: rec.gardens.edible
Subject: Re: Bay Laural Problem

charlene carman wrote:

> I've had this wonderful potted bay laural for 5 years. It is now in a 12"
> pot (since last summer) and I bring it in during the winter. The problem is
> during this last winter it started to lose leaves that first turned pale and
> fell off. I took it out gradually to adjust to the sun. But the problem
> has gotten much worse with the leaves turning an orange brown color. It
> always begins at the tip of the leaf. A month ago I gave it one treatment
> (didn't want to toxify the new buds) with Bonomyl thinking that it may have
> been a fungus. It didn't help. There have been these little buds at the
> stem of many leaves but they don't seem to want to grow. I was told to
> pinch off the top bud of each branch and did that 3-4 weeks ago, still no
> new leaves forming. Does anybody have any ideas on what the problem may be
> and what measures I can take to save this lovely plant? It was never over
> watered and always brought indoors to the same spot every fall. I sure love
> this plant.
> Any help would be much appreciated.
> Thanks in advance.
> Char

I had the same thing last year, and an herb expert gave me the following advice. For some reason bays are sensitive to salt build-up in the soil from synthetic fertilizers. It can cause the leaves to burn the way you describe. The best thing for you to do is to repot bay in fresh soil, shaking away as much of the old soil from the roots as possible. When I repot my bays, I added a good handful of cottonseed meal with my potting soil as a slow release fertilizer. If I decide to supplement this fertilizer, I feed bay fish emulsion/sea kelp solution once or twice a season.

It's going to take a while for those new buds to grow. Bay takes her time growing out those new buds, and maybe that growth spurt which happens every year has passed away for now. Bay may feel like growing a little later in the season, but it may not. These plants are funny like that because they grow ever so slowly. Take heart though. When I had your problem last year, my plant didn't do all that well last summer but it lived. After this winter, the plant recovered and grew bushier and more beautiful than ever.

From: Gary Cooper <biggary@utdallas.edu>
Newsgroups: rec.gardens.edible
Subject: Re: Bay Laural Problem

On Sun, 21 Jun 1998, Libby wrote:

> You can easily prevent salt build up in container grown
> plants...including your bay...by watering until the water pours out of
> the drainage holes. This should be done at least once a month, but I do
> it every time I water.
> Libby

This does work for a long time, if not forever. If salt has built up in a container plant's soil, it also helps to water with distilled or de-ionized water (again, letting plenty of the water run out the bottom).


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