Bay Laurel Shrub – Protecting

Q: I live on the shores of Lake Oconee. Would a bay laurel shrub survive being put in the ground now?

A: Bay laurel, Laurus nobilis , is the source of aromatic leaves used in cooking. The shrubby tree is reasonably cold-hardy where you live but if temperatures are forecast to be below fifteen degrees, cover it with black plastic to the ground on all sides and put a 60 watt bulb in there to keep it from freezing.

Pat R. adds: I have a 8+ foot Bay Tree against my Buckhead (brick) house, southwest side, part shade, therefore protected, growing in a one-foot raised bed. It is full and vigorous and 10 years old, started as a 2 gallon purchase. I have never protected it from the cold.

Likewise, I have a 8+foot bay at my farm in Harris County, against a clapboard house, but right at the corner, facing south and west. That Bay is at least 15 years old, and has never been protected, but is less vigorous than the Buckhead Bay.

Diane G has another technique: We have several bay laurels that we brought from St Pete ,Fl 7 yrs ago to White.We are about 50 miles N of Atlanta,keep them in big buckets on N side of house and bring into basement/garage in winter. We have made new trees for friends via grafting.

bay leaves

bay tree

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