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Thread: Olive tree help!

  1. #1
    Kelly Williams is offline Germinator
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    Default Olive tree help!

    I recently bought a 50 year old gnarled olive tree. I have 0 experience with trees and would really like to keep it alive!
    Itís in a large, shallow pot and according to the seller can stay in there indefinitely as long as it has drainage out the bottom.

    I understand pruning is to be done at the end of winter but I donít really understand what I have to cut off and where.

    It has rained almost constantly since I got the tree and the gnarled bark seems very soft and spongy, lots of it feels like it would just fall away if picked gently. Is this ok or is it rotten? I can see some bits of the actual trunk underneath and it seems solid (brown in colour) will the gnarled bark grow back? Should I protect the exposed trunk?

    Any help would be very welcome, thank you!
    Can the Man likes this.

  2. #2
    Can the Man is offline Tuber
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    Hopefully some of our Mediterranean members can give you some advice soon.

  3. #3
    ameno is offline Tuber
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    The gnarled bark is fine. That outer layer is dead anyway, so it won't grow back (the "proper" bark is underneath), but there's no harm in leaving it. Old trees develop corky bark like that. It's normal.

    Can't help with anything else, though.
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  4. #4
    veggiechicken's Avatar
    veggiechicken is offline Gardening Guru
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    Hi Kelly.
    I've no idea sorry but I would hope that the seller gave you some advice on how to prune it? A 50 year old gnarled olive tree doesn't sound cheap!!

    Hope someone comes along who can help you.

    My olive tree is about 15' tall and has been in the garden for 15 years. I don't prune it as I wouldn't know where to start!!
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  5. #5
    devonuk is offline Sprouter
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    Never pruned mine (it's 23) and it looks fine. I would leave it.

  6. #6
    Snoop Puss's Avatar
    Snoop Puss is offline Mature Fruiter
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    Firstly, the usual time to prune olives would be late winter, early spring after any fruit has been picked or has dropped off. Now they would normally be bearing mature fruit. So don't prune just yet. If you do prune, just trim back the ends of any branches and clear out any larger branches that are interfering with others or to shape the tree as you see fit. Olive trees can withstand severe and inexpert pruning quite well.

    I shouldn't worry too much about the bark. Olive trees often look like the bark can easily be peeled off in slivers.

    That said, I'm more concerned about the shallow pot. How tall is the tree at the moment? And what are the dimensions (diameter and depth of the pot)?
    Kelly Williams likes this.
    Note to self: Getting too old not to have a life.

  7. #7
    Kelly Williams is offline Germinator
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    Olive tree help!-21de3bcb-fcd3-4fa2-be62-d845f1b28f7c.jpegThank you for your replies, I have tried to attach a pic but I’m not sure if it’s going to work.
    The pot is 30cm high and 80cm wide. Tree is 1m high to top of the trunk and about 1.8m to the top of the branches.
    I was reading advice on pruning to maximise fruit production, that’s probably why I was confused. Olive tree help!-6a3e859a-aabd-48c7-b0b5-c6344648a577.png
    I (hopefully) have also attached the pruning instructions from the people who sold it originally - basically cut anywhere!
    I bought the tree from a neighbour, he moved in and realised that he gets very little to no sun his florist mother used to prune it for him.
    Tree currently has no fruit probably because it’s been moved a few times and has had a lack of sun this year. Luckily my garden gets the sun all day.
    Last edited by Kelly Williams; 04-12-2019 at 07:08 PM.

  8. #8
    Snoop Puss's Avatar
    Snoop Puss is offline Mature Fruiter
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    Kelly, I've written and deleted several replies. That is the most depressed looking olive 'tree' I've ever seen. How did it manage to grow the branch that has been lopped off? Was it initially growing in the ground and has had its roots cut to get it into that pot? It just looks to me like a badly-pruned bonsai. It's not thriving because of the pot and the pruning it has had.

    Does anyone in the UK have a view on what to do? Is this typical of the trees you buy?

    My advice, on seeing the picture, is don't prune it for years. It needs masses more leaves than that. In fact, it's a prime example of how resilient olive trees are that it has survived the treatment it's had. Don't expect to get any fruit in a hurry, if ever. Sorry to be so damning.
    veggiechicken likes this.
    Note to self: Getting too old not to have a life.

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