I don't believe any of the previous sick bay tree questions have shown the same symptoms: large brown patches on some leaves.

Bay with brown patches on leaves

It's one of two standard bays I've got by the front door, both in pots of about 20-30 l. We're having a heatwave here (by British standards, i.e. getting up to about 30°C, <2 mm of rain in the last 6 weeks) but I've been watering the compost fairly generously every couple of days and I'd expect drought to cause a more general drying without the new growth. The other is healthy and has similar amounts of new growth. Both get the afternoon/evening sun, but are in shade for the hottest part of the day.

I potted them up last year into home-made compost, which I've found successful for other long-term pot plants including the kitchen-garden bay several years older. Besides I try to avoid using too much bought-in compost for environmental reasons (most of what I can buy without a special trip is based on peat). I don't usually pick the leaves off this one as I have another closer to the kitchen, so any treatment doesn't have to be suitable for crops.

So I'd like to know what's wrong, what to do about it, and especially whether it's like to spread to the other tree a metre or so away.

  • It looks suspiciously like a mechanical 'burn'. What happened about 2 months or so ago? Was anything sprayed in the vicinity of this shrub?
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 0:46
  • @stormy, interesting. I'm very sparing with garden chemicals and haven't used any near there for years (except plant food with a watering can), and I don't think anyone else can have done within say 15m. No DIY chemicals either in that area, and while vehicle exhaust gets reasonably close there are other plants in between undamaged. Most of the damage is on one side, but there is a little on the top on the opposite side. On that basis I'm thinking I should snip off the affected leaves carefully and monitor.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 6:44
  • This looks like heat scorch to me. I did a similar thing a few months ago when I burnt some papers outside and the heat got too close to a pot. With the current weather and wall proximity, I’d say it’s that. Nothing to worry about, plant will recover
    – user33232
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 19:34
  • @ChrisH Go ahead and snip off the damaged leaves. It costs the plant more to repair those leaves than the leaves can provide in carbs to account for their own keep. What kind of plant 'food' do you use when you water? I hate to be a butt but plants make their own food, fertilizer, compost...none of that is food for plants. The 'word' nutrients is just wrong. Plants have to have specific chemistry to be healthy, vigorous and produce food for us humans. Does not come from compost, the air, the water, the soil. It HAS to be added and very carefully. It would be nice to know what happened.
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 5:54
  • 1
    Yeah, I have major problems with definitions of terms. Potting soil normally is made with little to no 'real' soil particles. Coir, vermiculite, pearlite, peat...organic stuff that is neutral, not broken down. Sterilized with heat. This makes a MEDIUM for plants having to be planted in pots. Just like hydroponics where water is a medium. Planting in the larger body of garden soil it is necessary to know the ecology, biology, soils...drainage because the only strategy is to work with nature. Ugh that word nature. Natural. Organic. There are as many definitions as people who interpret.
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 6:01


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