Gardening Q&A:can you tell me what is wrong with my bay tree?

The experts at the RHS answer your gardening questions...

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Question: Can you please help? My bay tree has gone weird, what can I do? And can you tell me what it is?

Answer: It looks as though your plant may have dried out at some point rather than suffering from a disease. The other possibility is late frost damage that will easily be overtaken with fresh growth. If your plant is in a pot and has not been repotted for a couple of years, repot into a slightly larger container, using a John Innes No 3 compost. After a few years in a container, there can often be more roots than compost and the compost itself tends to break down and then is less efficient at holding onto moisture and nutrients.  You could mix in some controlled fertiliser at the same time. If it is in the ground, extra water in very dry spells may be all that is required. It is possible that the damage occurred last year and that now you have plenty of fresh new foliage. Older leaves are shed regularly, so you shouldn’t have to look at these for long.

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