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Sunday, 1 December 2013

How to plant an Olive tree

We finally decided to dig out and replace our pear tree with an olive. The pear has been struggling to stay alive since we planted it about four years ago. We think the pH level of our soil did not suit its needs even with lots of added lime and wood ash to try and improve the pH level. So we gave up on it yesterday and planted a young olive which within a few years will provide us with a good crop.

Planting olives is best done between October and November to provide the roots with plenty of time to become established before the peak growth period of Spring.

The following steps will ensure your olive will have the best possible start:

1. Dig a planting hole slightly deeper than the pot the tree was sold in and loosen the soil below.

2. Remove the tree from the pot carefully to avoid disturbing the root ball and try and keep its surrounding soil intact. If the tree is staked leave the stake in place and remove it once the tree has outgrown its need.

3. Plant the tree just slightly lower than its pot depth and gradually return the soil, firming slightly, to support the tree. The trunk area should be slightly mounded to encourage water away from the trunk and avoid rot. Do not add any additional compost or fertilizer as the tree should be allowed to get used to its surrounding soil which will encourage its root to grow outwards.

4. Water in well, by providing a mounded circle around the tree, and water every time the soil starts to dry out until the tree is established.  Once established olive trees are one of the most drought tolerant trees you can grow.

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