We have a 20ft tall bay tree growing in the ground, and other smaller examples in tubs – but they all have the same problem, shooting from the roots. There is a constant battle to prune these shoots off. Does anyone know of a trick to minimise the problem?
If you prune the shoots off, that will make them grow back stronger and thicker.
Instead, if you gently scrape away the soil around from where they are growing from and pull them completely off of the root, those suckers will not grow back.
Other suckers may grow from other parts of the roots, so you will have to pull those too.
Another way of dealing with them, is to use glysophate weedkiller.
You will never see this recommended anywhere, but I have used it successfully on a number of standard bay trees.
Paint or spray the glysophate onto the sucker’s leaves. Be careful not to get the spray on the leaves of the tree itself.
Glysophate works through the leaves, so the more leaves on the suckers, the better.
It will kill the sucker back to where it joins the main root.
As long as the main tree is growing well and is healthy it will not harm it.
If after a couple of weeks, you can see no difference, do not reapply. Just have patience. It will work.