Bay Tree Transplant Tips: How To Transplant Bay Trees

Bay Tree Transplant Tips: How To Transplant Bay Trees

By: Teo Spengler

Bay laurel trees are small evergreens with dense, aromatic foliage. Read on for tips on transplanting bay trees.

Moving a Bay Tree

Bay trees are relatively small and some gardeners grow them in containers. You may be thinking of moving a bay tree from one container to a garden site or from one garden site to another. In either case, you’ll want to be sure to do it right. When you are transplanting bay trees, you’ll want to get information on how to transplant bay trees.

But before you pick up that shovel, you need to figure out when to move a bay tree. Experts suggest that you should wait until summer’s heat has cooled to act. The best time for transplanting a bay tree is autumn. In addition to ushering in milder weather, autumn often brings rains that help the bay tree transplant develop its root system in the new site.

How to Transplant Bay Trees

When you are ready to start moving a bay tree, the first thing to do is to prepare the new site. This allows you to set the tree’s rootball into the new site immediately. Select a site protected from strong winds.

The bay tree transplant will require a new planting hole. Shovel out a hole considerably larger than the tree’s rootball. The hole should be twice as wide as and somewhat deeper than the rootball. Loosen up the soil in the hole to allow the bay’s roots to easily adjust.

Some experts recommend pruning the bay tree transplant before moving it. You might also spray it several hours before transplant with a product called Stressguard. It is said to reduce the risk of transplant shock.

The most important thing to remember when you are transplanting bay trees is to dig out and move as much of the root ball as possible. Dig around the outside of the rootball until you are certain of its perimeters. Then dig down until you arrive at the depth where most of the roots lie.
Lift the soil with the roots attached, taking care not to damage small feeder roots. When you can, lift out the rootball in one piece. Place it on a tarp and take it to its new location. Slide the tree into the planting hole, then backfill.

When the tree is solid and straight, tamp the soil down and water it well. Water regularly for the first year after transplanting bay trees. It’s also a good idea to spread a layer of mulch over the root area. Don’t allow the mulch to get very close to the tree trunk.

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Read more about Bay Trees

Facts About the Bay Tree

Bay trees are evergreen trees that originated in the southern Mediterranean region. The bay tree is a slow growing tree that is easily trained as topiary. The leaves of the bay tree are also a common seasoning used in French, Spanish and Italian cooking. If allowed to grow naturally the tree can reach heights between 10 to 15 feet. Bay trees grow well in USDA Zones 8 through 10.


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In our experience flowers are produced in April / May time but only on mature specimens. Younger bay trees do not produce flowers. The flowers are very small, about the size of a five pence piece. We don't remove them because they are unlikely to affect the growth of a mature bay tree.

Flowers on a standard Bay Tree
Click to enlarge picture

Another question we are asked is are there male and female forms of bay trees and if so how do they differ? The answer is that yes, there are male and female forms. The difference becomes apparent in autumn. Female forms will produce berries (and they contain seeds) whereas male forms of bay trees do not generally produce berries.

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