Bay Laurel (Not bonsai)

ConorDash

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Hello,

I wondered if anyone had some info or experience working with, caring for or shaping a Bay Laurel?

I have one, large one in a big pot that we have had for many years... Not sure how long but judging by its bark, it certainly has some age. It is rather straggly and pathetic looking now and I want to restore it to its full, ramified glory.
I have done some research but its not proving fruitful. In the meantime, I have pruned about half of it (because I was not confident about my timing or technique). In my mind, if I prune a branch, it should back bud and shoot out new growth in a few months...

Well, without further ado here are some pics. Let me know what you think please.
I have circled in red the cuts I made, as its not clear on some. I know I could have or maybe should have cut back so much more, but I think this kind of pruning should be done in Autumn and I did this 1 week ago.
If someone with any experience wants to just say "go chop the thing back hard, give it 3 months .. profit", Ill do it.

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It has natural dead wood coming out too, which looks really cool, along with its old bark.

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If I could get this old looking bark on a bonsai tree, Id feel accomplished!

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ConorDash

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Also this was after I tidied the pot up.. its been in that pot for a long... long time. Can't be lifted by 1 person so its a bit of hardwork to do it.
This is what the top of the pot looked like. Loads of suckers.

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ConorDash

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No bat tree enthusiasts then? :)
 

ShadyStump

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Necro-bump?

I'm usually cool with killing trees, but not my father's day gift.
Info? Anyone?
Maybe an update?
 
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ConorDash

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Nah nothing lol.
The tree is looking better, fuller now, after 4 years... But always been scared to cut it too much based on little information. Its a sentimental tree. I did take one of its suckers though and rooted it, been growing it separately for a few years. Put a bit of wire on it. It should have gone in the ground this year but didnt.. wasted a year. Ill ground grow it for a number of years. It is to be topiary, not bonsai.
 

Forsoothe!

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This should be in full sun, repotted every few years in a rich organic mix and fed regularly in the growing season. Those weeds are counter-productive, too. Then, it will grow slowly anyway. They respond to tip pruning so take the tips when you collect for cooking. And drive back or eliminate leggy branches. It will be as tight and compact as you force it to be. Old bark is a function of growing enough to push out new layers of wood underneath the bark making it crack and become irregular on the exterior surface. No growth, no nada.
 

ShadyStump

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Nah nothing lol.
The tree is looking better, fuller now, after 4 years... But always been scared to cut it too much based on little information. Its a sentimental tree. I did take one of its suckers though and rooted it, been growing it separately for a few years. Put a bit of wire on it. It should have gone in the ground this year but didnt.. wasted a year. Ill ground grow it for a number of years. It is to be topiary, not bonsai.
Thanks for the sorta-update.
My wife bought me one for in June, and I'm trying to make sure I learn as much as I can from anyone who's had experience before I jump in and experiment on this one. Like you said, it's a sentimental tree. Gotta do it right this time.
 

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