Bay laurel a bad choice of trees

Question: On the north side of our house, we have a 10-foot-wide space we are trying to landscape. Several have suggested planting bay laurel trees, but we are concerned about the tree’s size for the space. When we went to the nursery, their suggestion was the Majestic Beauty hawthorn tree. Will the hawthorn tree do well in our climate and soils?

Yes, the Majestic Beauty hawthorn is fine and could work for you. It’s probably a better choice than the bay laurel. Bay laurel struggles in our climate unless it is protected from late-afternoon sun. Northern exposures can sometimes get hammered by the late-afternoon sun.

Both plants do better with wood mulch rather than rock mulch. Use lots of compost mixed into the planting soil at planting time.

Keep wood mulch a foot from the trunk the first three or four years after planting. Use at least 4 inches of mulch, and it should cover a distance of at least 6 feet in diameter under the tree.

Bob Morris is a horticulture expert living in Las Vegas and professor emeritus for the University of Nevada. Visit his blog at