Posted on Dec 12, 2023 at 12:03 pm by Oliver C
The olive tree is a tree that brings a Mediterranean touch to your garden or outdoor space. However, it can be sensitive to cold during the winter season in regions with cold climates. Discover how to plant and care for an olive tree to make it more resistant to cold and how to protect it during the winter.
Table of Contents
Resistance of the olive tree to cold
Although not demanding much attention, the olive tree needs good conditions to thrive. Olive trees are very resistant, and their resistance increases with age. It is recommended to buy a subject of at least 5 years for good cold resistance. The weaknesses of the olive tree are the cold, especially when combined with humidity, and freezing rain, which both inflict moisture and frost. Therefore, dry and short-term cold can be tolerated.
In general, olive trees can be grown in open ground in all regions where temperatures do not drop below -10°C (14°F). In colder areas, it is preferable to grow them in pots to be able to overwinter them.
Protecting your potted olive tree
To protect your potted olive tree, you can bring it indoors to a sheltered, bright place that is not heated or exposed to cold winds. A veranda or a covered terrace are perfect shelters, especially if the tree is protected from rain. If possible, place it near a south-facing wall or a bay window so that it benefits from indoor warmth.
The same attention can be given to your other balcony plants in winter. Taking care of your precious plants during the cold season can ensure their health and flourishing when temperatures rise.
Protecting the olive tree in open ground or non-movable
If your olive tree is planted in open ground or cannot be moved indoors, you can cover it with a winter veil that will protect it from bad weather and cold. Place this veil so that it does not directly touch the tree to avoid condensation. The winter veil should only remain in place during the freezing period, remove it as soon as temperatures rise.
Straw is a good and easy-to-find insulator, but you can also surround the base of the trunk with a blanket, especially if it is a potted tree. A tarpaulin can cover everything to prevent water infiltration that could freeze the roots.
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Choosing the right location and planting the olive tree
- Not demanding soil: the olive tree will not appreciate compacted soils (to be lightened) or wet soils (to be drained).
- Dig a hole 1.5 times the diameter of the root ball and at least 80 cm deep for planting.
- Plant the olive tree when the soil is still warm, in early autumn so that the new roots have time to develop before the arrival of cold weather.
Maintenance and feeding of the olive tree
Do not hesitate to offer a slow-release fertilizer rich in nitrogen to your mature olive tree in March, about 60 cm from the trunk. If you have access to horse manure, ideal for your olive trees, make a contribution every three years, in autumn. Spread the manure over a circular area with a diameter of 2 meters around the tree.
Resistant to drought, the olive tree is modest in water consumption. During dry periods, water it sparingly but regularly. To limit dehydration, create a mound with a diameter of one meter and a height of 15 centimeters around the base of the tree.
Pruning and disease prevention
Proper pruning in spring and regular removal of shoots on the trunk are beneficial for the health and resistance of the olive tree to cold. A preventive application of Bordeaux mixture can be done in March and autumn.
The most dangerous disease for the olive tree is verticillium wilt, the only one that can, in some cases, kill it permanently. Verticillium wilt causes the dropping of flowers and fruits.