Sick Bay Tree
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Stacey
Posted on: April 5, 1998

I have a small Bay Laurel tree that I potted up and brought in in November. I live in Maine. For the first few months it did great , even produced a lot of new growth. Then it appeared to have spider mites, or other mite. So I took it up and washed each leaf in soapy water, isolated it for a few days , repeated the cleaning and put it back with the other plants, now the leaves are dry and brittle, even some of the new ones, and the whole plant is dull and lifeless , but not wilty. Any ideas??? Is is possible that the soapy water hurt it. I have used that cure for years with other plants. Is there any hope? All the local garden centers are shut down tight and none of my books mention this type of problem. The leaves are literally drying on the plant. Any thought would be appreciated.

If a lot of your soapy water got into the pot the plant may not have tolerated it. Wash it with rain water and keep adding rain water and letting it drain away. You might also try repotting into fresh soil. But the extra shock may not be that good for it. As long as the stem seems alive there is hope! It will sprout later in the year if it is alive.

Bay normally enters a dormant period between late summer and late spring. Even if the plant does not shed its leaves, there is no new growth until spring. Even if there are no leaves now, the plant can still be alive and can still sprout new shoots if the stem and roots are still alive.

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