The leaves on my bay tree are fading

Guy Barter, Head of Horticultural Advice at the RHS, answers your gardening questions
Bay tree
Bay trees do best in pots if old roots are removed to keep it fresh and compost is replaced in the spring
Question: I have a small bay tree growing in a terracotta pot but the leaves are becoming light green rather than the more normal dark green. Can you let me know why this might be happening and how to rectify the problem? My neighbour also has the same problem with her bay tree.

Answer: It sounds like your tree is hungry - try giving it liquid fertiliser every week until September, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Also try to scrape off the top 5cm of potting medium and replace with fresh potting compost as soon as you can.

In spring, repot either into a slightly bigger pot or if you want to use the same pot, knock off a third of old roots and potting medium and replace with fresh potting compost. Remove any dead, rotted dark roots while repotting. Trees in pots do best if treated in this way every other year.

Send your questions for Guy Barter to: gardenproblems@standard.co.uk.

Only one question per fortnight can be answered. For further advice on handling problems in your garden, visit www.rhs.org.uk/advice/index.asp.

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