How Do I Repot and Care for my Olive Tree?
Olive Trees, like many other trees and shrubs, can thrive for many years in containers if taken care of properly. They like a warm spot and may need to be indoors depending upon which variety you have, as some are “winter hardy”. Here are tips to help your success:
2. Loosen Roots. Gently loosen root ball with your hands or “score” roots by making several 1-2” slashes into the root mass, if severely “pot bound”. This allows the roots to grow away from the original ball and into the soil instead of continuing coiling and taking longer to establish.
4. Add Soil & Fertilizer into New Pot. Add organic potting Soil (G&B) about halfway into the container. Add organic Starter or All-Purpose fertilizer (G&B) into the soil and mix well- see package directions for exact amount to add- about ¼ cup per 1’ of tree high. Then add your tree into the pot and center in place. Add potting soil around the root mass, packing it in and completely covering the roots. Make sure the root ball isn’t planted to high- there should be a 1-3” inches of space below the rim of the pot- allowing for easier watering.
Should you add gravel or rocks on the bottom of the container? Some experts say Yes, other say No. I usually do if I am planting in a large container, ceramic, or clay outdoor pottery.
6. Fertilize with Organics. Use granular organic fertilizers 2-3 times a year by scratching into soil then covering or adding new soil over the fertilizer. Organics last longer in the soil and will not burn plants. You can use a liquid fertilizer if desired, but you will need to apply it more often when you water and lacks beneficial soil microbes present in granular fertilizers. Please do Not Use Miracle Grow or other chemical fertilizers. They ruin the soil and contain many heavy metals not good for edible plants.
7. Prune and Maintain. Prune during the warmer months, late spring or again in early fall (at least 6 weeks before first frost so the plant is hardened off for winter). If your plant is indoors or in a greenhouse, you can prune it almost anytime it needs it. Remember the 1/3 Rule. Prune About 1/3 of the height and size of your plant at one time- too aggressive pruning causes problems and may ruin your trees. I like to start by remove dead branches and thin out crossing branches. Then I prune the outer edges, lightly and sparingly at first, taking a minute to examine the shape. Then you can always prune more and shape to a natural form or a more creative way like topiaries or bonsai.
Repot Your Plant Again or Plant in the Ground when it out grows its current container, yearly or when needed depending upon how fast it grows.
This example can be applied for many other types of trees and shrubs. Acid lovers use an acid potting mix or fertilizer. The images I used for this are from various plants and not an actual “olive tree” but the ideas and concepts are similar. I grow olive relatives in my garden, primarily Silverberry- Elaeagnus ‘Olive Martini’- which is a large evergreen shrub with attractive variegated foliage, fragrant flowers, and edible berries (I save them for wildlife).