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Topic-icon Bay trees

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10 years 2 months ago #16866 by moggy

We have a couple of bay trees and a third one I found last week (though in my old age I have forgotten where in the garden it lives)
I love the scent of bayleaves. As we have a lot what can you do with them. I know the old stick a bay leaf in your stock, casseroles etc but there must be something more adventurous to do with them.
Next question as they seem to survive here and flourish even without water, I think they could be something good to plant. Possibly I could sell some, but failing that, they are an attractive evergreen, so how do you propagate them?

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10 years 2 months ago #251882 by Finn McCool

You can scatter them on the selves in the pantry to help keep bugs away but thats probably not much good to you when you have 3 trees.


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10 years 2 months ago #251889 by LongRidge

Laurus nobilis trees grow huge, so cut out at least 2 of yours. They are also possibly poisonous to stock if eaten, so another good reason to not have too many. They were used for making wreaths for Roman senators, and to go on coffins.

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10 years 2 months ago #251893 by moggy

I am not cutting any down, I have a policy of if it grows here without help it lives (OK with the exception of our nasty borage, but even that has a use in the paddocks) and if they grew, big that would be fantastic, there is more than enough room for a huge tree, but they are fairly slow growing, so it is going to take many years to get big, and besides, a big tree is only one that hasn't seen a pruning saw.
There is no danger of stock eating them.

Finn, thanks for the suggestion. If they keep ants away, then I may have to plant a forest of them to keep up demand.

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10 years 2 months ago #251898 by LongRidge

My mother, who did her doctorate in botany at Imperial College, thought that too, so has one planted outside her dining room window in Fendalton. Trees grow much faster in NZ than they do in UK.
The other problem with bays is, like eucalypts, their leaves have lots of oil in them. On a very hot day, this oil will volatilise and make a big fire risk. So don't plant them near any buildings, and don't plant them where any branches will fall into paddocks.

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10 years 2 months ago #251917 by NZ Appaloosas

http://www.healthrecipes.com/bay_leaf.htm

http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/bay.html

http://oldfashionedliving.com/bayleaf.html

Hmmm, the last link says

It's important to make sure you are buying laurus nobilis as a culinary bay tree. Others in the same family may be toxic.


It also says

Note that essential oil and any part of the berries should not be used by pregnant or nursing women. The berries have been used medicinally, but I would not advise this, since it could cause problems if not done correctly.


http://www.ageless.co.za/herb-bay.htm (apparently it can be used for dandruff and to promote hair growth)...

Diane



Featuring Wap Spotted, sire of the first Wap Spot 2 grandget in Southern Hemisphere and New Zealand

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10 years 2 months ago #251921 by moggy

LongRidge;230155 wrote: My mother, who did her doctorate in botany at Imperial College, thought that too, so has one planted outside her dining room window in Fendalton. Trees grow much faster in NZ than they do in UK.

Not where we are. In general trees grow a lot more slowly than in the UK, due to the lack of water in summer. If it doesn't get irrigated it can't get out of control. The Bay trees here grow 6 inches a year here at the most, I don't prune them here, I would do it a couple of times a year in the UK.

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10 years 2 months ago #251922 by sandra17

I use 3-4 leaves each time I make stock, plus in all casseroles. In winter, that adds up to a lot of bay leaves. Any propagation book will tell you how, but by the look of the one I bought, it had started as a cutting. Would make a nice little seller at community markets I would think.

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10 years 2 months ago #251924 by moggy

NZ Appalosas
Some laurels are exceptionally toxic. In the UK MAFF produce a book on poisonous plants and how just how toxic they are. Laurel (not bay) is just about the most poisonous in the country. It is often fatal. I often thought that the easiest way to kill someone would be to switch their jar of bay leaves for common laurel.

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10 years 2 months ago #251926 by NZ Appaloosas

I've often thought the same. I was just curious that that site says the opposite of what Longridge says, that laurus nobilis is the one that's safe, and then goes on to say that the essential oil and "parts of the berry" were not to be used by pregnant or nursing women...seems a bit paradoxical to me, cuz isn't it the essential oils that one wants to infuse into the soup or whatever?

Diane



Featuring Wap Spotted, sire of the first Wap Spot 2 grandget in Southern Hemisphere and New Zealand

On the first day God created horses. On the second day He spotted the best ones.

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10 years 2 months ago #251932 by moggy

I think it is just a matter of concentration, you get a lot more active ingredients in the extracted essential oil than you do ever would by putting a few leaves in a dish.
I can't find any reference to Bay leaves being posionous to humans or stock.

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10 years 2 months ago #251941 by Andrea1

The English Laurel is the one that's really toxic to stock and I had a friend in the states who had a huge hedge of it all round her property which her dogs never bothered, until one time when she'd had it trimmed and the dogs (Dalmatians) chewed on a bunch of the branches on the ground and one of them died from the poison, and the other suffered liver or kidney (sorry, can't remember which) damage which eventually led to her early demise.

I have 4 little Bay trees (the culinary one), which I planted as very small plants, less than 15cm high, about 4 years ago, and they're only about 900mm to a meter high now. I plan to keep them as shrubs, shaped to the space in which they're planted.

I use it in casseroles, pot roasts, stews, etc, but don't ever imagine I'll keep up with the growth of my shrubs.

Cheers
Andrea
Oxford

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10 years 2 months ago #251953 by maggies mum

moggy;230182 wrote: NZ Appalosas
Some laurels are exceptionally toxic. In the UK MAFF produce a book on poisonous plants and how just how toxic they are. Laurel (not bay) is just about the most poisonous in the country. It is often fatal. I often thought that the easiest way to kill someone would be to switch their jar of bay leaves for common laurel.


So did ya try it!! :D :D :D :D :D

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10 years 2 months ago #251956 by eelcat

Our sheep completely pruned our culinary one so badly that I thought it would die, but it has come away again amazingly well. Must like a good prune!


1 Border collie, 1 Huntaway, 2 Lhasa Apsos, Suffolk and arapawa ewe crosses, an Arapawa ram,an East Friesian ewe , 5 cats, 42 ducks , 1 rooster and 30 hens, 5 geese, 12 goats, 2 donkeys, 2 house cows, one heifer calf, one bull calf, 3 rabbits and lots and lots and lots of fruit trees...

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10 years 2 months ago #252118 by DiDi

I cut mine down as low as I could - hoping to kill it - plantd in the wrong place and you guessed it - back as big a it was before. I agree - a nice looking tree - but as long as it is where you want it!

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