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Old April 2, 2017   #1
MuddyBuckets
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Default Bay Tree Question

Has anyone grown a Bay Tree (Bay Laurel) for culinary use of the leaves? If so, can you use the leaves fresh or must they be dried (like in the store) first? Will it grow well in a container in zone 7b?

Also, I would like to get a rooted or rootable cutting. Willing to trade tomato or pepper seeds or pay postage.
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Old April 2, 2017   #2
oakley
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Years ago i grew it in a gallon pot and also rosemary sage and lemongrass. Outside summer and
inside all Winter. I had a full south sunny window and dry. Have not had those perfect conditions
since.
One of the few culinary herb/spice that is much better dried. Explained here,
http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/03/a...ay-leaves.html

Easily dried in your oven if it has a low 120-150. Unfortunately most new ovens don't
go much under 170 but you can turn it on 20 min then off for half hour, repeat.

My oven is new and starts at 100. Got lucky there. I have a dehydrator but oven is easy for
a quick small batch.
I buy bay leaves now but miss that tree. An inch of clean sand on top of the pot helps
out some soil issues if bringing it inside for the winter. I give a diluted peroxide soil drench 1-5 of 3% when bringing indoors.
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Old April 2, 2017   #3
Worth1
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I have two bay trees I bought as wee little things now one is lord knows how tall maybe 8 feet.
It is more like a bush.
They like a damp soil but will handle dry for awhile.
The are an evergreen and mine has survived weather down into the teens with no ill effect.
I always end up picking and using fresh even though I know they are better dried.
They are a very low moisture leaf and best dried in a dark drawer or just on the counter out of the sun.
This way they wont turn brown and will retain flavor.
In all honesty you could find one at a nursery if you looked around for less than what I could send a cutting to you.
If not you can get them on line if you wish.
If you want if you really need one I can get some rooted in small containers and send them but they are slow growing.
The stuff in the store for spices many times is NOT true bay.
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Old April 2, 2017   #4
MuddyBuckets
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Thanks for the advice. I'll go to my favorite nursery and see what they have, guess it is much easier than having it shipped.
MB
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Old April 2, 2017   #5
oakley
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Like Worth says, slow growing, especially the first two yrs from cuttings.
A wee thing from a nursery is a good head start.
I made a smart move buying a good Myer lemon tree that is now three yrs, maybe 4.
I leave the first few sensitive years up to the experts.
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Old April 2, 2017   #6
Worth1
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Slower than a cactus.

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Old April 2, 2017   #7
Deborah
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My favorite nursery has them for $24.99 in an 8 inch clay pot, the tree is about 18 inches tall.
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Old May 16, 2017   #8
ako1974
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My tree is about 8ish years old now and about 6 feet tall. I take cuttings from it every year, typically giving them away for other people to kill - not saying that's on purpose, or that I'll stop giving them away, but I give detailed instructions, I really do

I usually use the leaves fresh, but this year I'd like to dry them. I've tried before, but I got mold on them.

Worth - I see your tips for drying above and will use them this year.
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Old June 29, 2017   #9
mensplace
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I hope that all know to use the proper bay for culinary purposes. The standard bay that you see in landscaping has a powerful neurotoxin. I made the mistake of bringing a lot back from California once.
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Old June 29, 2017   #10
rtm39402
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I have a bay tree that is 20+ years old. When my parents first got it they kept it in a pot untill it got too big to bring in. Then we planted it. I'm in 8b and it does fine outside. We have for years just used fresh leaves or if we pruned the bay laurel we would put the leaves in the freezer and use those. They have always seemed fine. We plan to dry some this year just to see how it would turn out. As others have said, you should be able to get one local for not much money.
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Old June 29, 2017   #11
Worth1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mensplace View Post
I hope that all know to use the proper bay for culinary purposes. The standard bay that you see in landscaping has a powerful neurotoxin. I made the mistake of bringing a lot back from California once.
I have true bay.
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Old June 29, 2017   #12
NewWestGardener
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I started my "tree" from a cutting. Now it stands a grand 3 inches tall, fashioning two sets of leaves.

It took a whole year to root and grow the new pair of leaves. Rooting hormone was used. The cutting just sat there, in between the stage of neither dead (leaves stays green) or alive (no new growth) for the longest time for anything I tried to root.

So there, it surely tests patience.
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