How to Plant Bayberry

Bayberry is a relatively hardy shrub that is native to the coastal regions in eastern North America. When mature, bayberry makes for a neatly shaped rounded shrub, often growing as wide as it does tall. Bayberry produces aromatic glossy-green leaves and blue-gray waxy looking berries, which serve as a food source for several species of birds, including woodpeckers and chickadees. Bayberry can be planted at any time from early spring through summer for use as privacy screens or for informal hedges.

Things You'll Need

  • Bayberry shrubs
  • Shovel
  • Organic matter
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Shears
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    • 1

      Choose the location for the bayberry bushes. Bayberry prefers partial shade or full sun. Make sure you choose a site that is not near any driveways or sidewalks. Bayberries are known to sometimes produce low-hanging branches, which can impede the flow of traffic, according to the University of Florida.

    • 2

      Dig a hole for each bayberry shrub you plan to plant. Plant the shrubs approximately 8 to 10 feet apart for a dense hedge-like effect. Otherwise, space each hole about 12 feet apart. The holes should be about two to three times the diameter of each planting pot and about the same depth. If you are planting ball and burlap trees, make each hole about twice the width of the root ball and no deeper.

    • 3

      Fill a 5-gallon bucket with organic matter. You can use any organic matter, such as rotted leaves, plant-based compost or aged cow manure. Mix the contents of the bucket into the soil you removed from a planting hole. Use one bucket of organic matter for every planting hole you have created.

    • 4

      Set a bayberry horizontally on the ground if you are planting from 1-gallon or 5-gallon planting pots. Use a pair of snips to cut down the sides of the pot, starting either at the rim or at a drain-hole. Do this all the way around the entire pot until you can easily remove the bayberry from the pot. If planting from ball and burlap, cut the cord that secures the burlap or other material to the stem of the bayberry.

    • 5

      Put the bayberry bushes in the holes. For ball and burlap shrubs, cut back the top half of the material that is encasing the root ball. If the shrub appears to be sitting too deep in its planting hole, gently remove the shrub from its hole. Scoop in a few shove-fulls of soil and organic matter then re-set the shrub in the hole.

    • 6

      Fill the planting hole with soil slowly and firm it down around the shrub to remove air pockets.

    • 7

      Create a two-inch or three-inch circular dam of dirt about 16 to 20 inches in diameter around each of the bayberry shrubs. Fill the dam with water slowly so it has time to sink down to the roots.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plan on watering each bayberry regularly for the first year after planting. Provide one inch of water weekly until autumn.

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