Whether you’re a new olive tree owner or have quite the collection, we’re revealing how to look after your olive tree in winter to get the best out of your plant.
Older olive trees can be more fragile and sometimes require a little extra care and attention. However, with the right conditions, your olive tree should live up to its hardy nature.
When planting ancient olive trees, you should ensure the soil is well drained. You can achieve this by digging in lots of grit before planting. As olive trees thrive in the sun, a south facing position is ideal. They should also be sheltered from the wind.
If you keep your olive tree indoors, you won’t need to worry about the winter so much. Although, you may wonder if cranking up the heating may impact your olive tree at all? Olive trees can survive in drier environments, and they like lots of sunshine, so placing them in lighter rooms, conservatories and greenhouses, or near windows is advisable.
Do olive trees lose their leaves in winter?
Olive trees are evergreen, meaning they won’t lose their leaves in the winter. While they look most at home in a sunny clime – they are from the Mediterranean after all – they can still thrive in slightly colder, rainier environments, like the UK. If your olive tree is losing its foliage it may mean your tree is suffering from a disease or hasn’t been receiving the right amount of water. If your leaves are starting to look a little yellow or are falling, you should check that they aren’t parched or over-watered.
Do I need to protect my olive tree in winter?
What about frost and snow? How do olive trees fare in this type of weather? The trees should be fine, even in temperatures as low as -10°C. Much lower than that, and your olive tree may struggle though. But seeing as it’s pretty rare for sub-zero temperatures to sweep the UK, you shouldn’t need to worry. If a particularly harsh winter comes along, you can always wrap your olive tree in a fleece.
How to protect your olive tree from frost and strong winds?
If the forecast is predicting a particularly cold spell coupled with strong winds, you should make sure your olive tree is protected from the elements. Why? Cold winds can penetrate the bark, causing it to split. If your tree is potted, it may be worth moving your tree indoors, at least until the weather cheers up again.
But what about if your tree is planted in the ground? There’s no need to take any drastic action such as uprooting your tree. Instead, you can invest in a good horticultural fleece which can be placed over the top of the tree. Make sure to leave a buffer so the leaves don’t come into contact with the material. A fleece plant jacket works just as well with potted plants. You can secure the fleece in place with twine.
It lets light and water in, but traps in heat to keep your tree from getting too cold. Once the frost and winds have cleared, you can remove the fleece.
To protect roots from freezing, you can also add mulch to the base of your tree in winter which works as natural insulation. It also acts as a physical barrier to the wind.
How to prevent your tree getting waterlogged?
The obvious concern for many olive tree owners in the UK will be protecting them from the rain. Your olive tree needs to have a good level of drainage. Too much water could damage the roots and impact their capacity to take in water, which would cause another problem altogether – drought.
It’s best to water your olive tree as little as possible. However, if there has been no rain and you notice your soil is bone dry, you can give your tree some water.
In summary: dos and don’ts of looking after your olive tree in winter
✔ Do use a horticultural fleece to protect against harsh frosts and strong winds
✔ Do use mulch to prevent roots from freezing
✔ Do make sure plenty of grit is added to the soil for water drainage
✗ Don’t over-water your tree or let your roots get water-logged
As olive tree experts, Olive Grove in Oundle supplies a wide range of olive trees to spruce up your garden and interior spaces. Browse the largest selection of olive trees in the UK today.