Tips for caring for your Olive Tree
The Olive Grove, Oundle, is a plant centre specialising in the supply of palm trees, Mediterranean plants and olive trees.
If you are considering growing an olive tree in your garden they have some great advice. So we have produced their top tips for caring for this type of tree.
Tips for Caring for your Olive Tree
You’ve decided to add a touch of Mediterranean glamour to your home with an olive tree, and now it’s time to set about taking care of the new addition to your home and garden. Aside from adding a beautiful tree to your outdoors, you may also be blessed with some delightful olives for you to eat and add to your recipes!
Get your position right
Sadly, the UK is often dealt a rough hand when it comes to the weather – we can experience wind, rain and glorious sunshine all in one day! Olive trees love the sunshine; so it’s important that you position your tree in the sunniest spot in your garden so that it can capture as much light as possible when the sun does shine.
Luckily, olive trees are able to withstand temperatures of -10°C, but if those temperatures are combined with a cold wind then younger trees can struggle to survive. Therefore, you should also ensure that you position your tree where there is suitable wind protection.
It’s also advisable to cover your olive tree in the wintertime so that it is protected from harsh winter elements.
Get your drainage right when planting
Olive trees can be grown well in the majority of soil types. However, it’s important that you have a good drainage system in place, otherwise, you may find your tree could suffer. You should always dig a hole in the ground 50% larger than you need to when planting your tree, once the hole has been dug you can then fill the extra space with gravel before planting. This enables the water to drain through the gravel, rather than being contained in the roots with no room to drain properly.
Low maintenance food and water
Olive trees are extremely self-sufficient, and require little care when it comes to food and water. However, this is providing that you’ve invested in a high-quality compost which will mean you don’t need to feed your tree. As a rule of thumb, you will not need to water your tree once it has been planted – they are one of the most drought-resistance trees in the world. However, you will want to ensure that the soil doesn’t become dry throughout the year (including the winter months) if you plan on producing fruit from your tree.
Olive trees are relatively minimal when it comes to maintenance, and can be trimmed as and when needed.
However, if you plan on producing olive fruit from your tree then you will need to prune your tree in late spring or early summer before the tree has flowered. When you prune your olive tree you should look to remove dead, diseased or drying branches; aiming to thin out branches to allow light into the centre of your tree. Exercise caution when pruning your tree as you don’t want to risk spoiling the shape of your tree, and risk over-production of non-fruiting water shoots during flowering.
Your olive tree also needs to endure a two-month period of colder weather of 10°C or below and a fluctuation between day and night time temperatures. To produce olives from your tree, you need a lot of sunlight. In fact, olives are natively exposed to around 300 days of sunlight per year if they are grown in Spain or Italy. Sadly, the UK isn’t blessed with such a warm climate, but it is still possible to produce olives if there is enough sun in the spring and summer months. To increase the chances of fruit being produced, then you can try to shake the branches during flowering season. This is because olive trees are self-pollinating and flowers are pollinated by the wind.
Dry soil conditions can also affect flowering, so while your tree doesn’t need watering generally, you need to water your tree during dry weather spells. Pruning your tree excessively is also known to reduce flowering, as fruit is often produced at the tips of the previous year’s growth. Therefore, you ideally want to ensure you have three to four pieces of fruit per one foot branch, in the first three weeks of flowering. This helps to ensure that the olives don’t ripen and drop prematurely.
The Olive Tree nursery is situated at Polebrook, Northants PE8 5LQ. To find out more about olive trees check out their website at: https: www.olivegroveoundle.co.uk