Fourteen Year Old Bay Laurel in Ground Is Dying
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Glenda Bodd
Posted on: July 02, 2007

I recently noticed that the leaves on my bay tree are turning yellow and new growths (leaves) are wilting and dying. This tree has been in the ground for the past five years and has never had a problem. I live in South Texas, USA. The tree receives some afternoon sun but not enough to burn it. Would cotton bur compost around the base of the trunk along with fertilizer help it or is it just dying? I really love this tree and would hate to lose it.

There seems to be something badly wrong with the roots of the tree. The symptoms sound suspiciously like those of a wilt fungus such as the fire blight that affects members of the rose family.

However, since bay laurel likes rich peaty soil with abundant moisture, it might be something simple, such as salt or lime ended up around the plant, or the soil has become so compacted that water from irrigation or rain does not get to the roots properly. I would work in peat moss into the soil around the tree and irrigate heavily. If this does not do the trick, you may have to get a new tree and grow it in a big pot. The fungus causing the wilt may stay in the soil for almost forever, just waiting to attack the next victim.

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