As you may already know if you’ve read our other tips and advice posts, olive trees are surprisingly hardy plants. There are a few things they’re particularly sensitive to, however, including soil conditions.
If you’ve just got your first olive tree or are looking to add one to your garden soon, read on for our essential tips and advice on all things soil and compost-related.
Planting in the ground
Olive trees can thrive in acidic or alkaline soil, and typically don’t require compost, fertiliser or organic matter to grow healthily. Provided your soil is mineral-rich, your tree should be quite happy.
However, if your soil is quite sandy, you may want to add a little bit of compost or soil improver to give the tree the nutrients it needs. Likewise, if you’re planting in clay soil, an olive tree will benefit from a little extra grit to aid drainage.
Planting in a pot or container
Pot planting requires a slightly different approach. We recommend filling your container with peat-based compost in most cases. Although, if your tree is top-heavy, a loam-based alternative like John Innes No 3 is ideal. This compost is denser than peat-based options, too, so will give the pot a little extra stability.
When the time comes to move your tree to a larger pot, it’s worth removing the majority of the loose soil from its roots to help it settle into its new home. Take care when doing this, though: if you damage the roots, your tree might struggle to flower and fruit in the spring.
Drainage is everything
Whether you’re planting your tree in the ground or in a container, the most important thing to consider is drainage. If the soil stays too damp for too long, the roots will be unable to take on any more water and will gradually rot away, eventually leading to the death of the tree.
Our drainage top tips:
- If you’re pot planting your tree, make sure the container has adequately-sized holes at the bottom to allow water to drain
- Avoid adding gravel to your pot
- Consider adding approximately 20% grit to the soil if you’re pot planting…
- …or you can add pieces of broken terracotta pot to the bottom of your container
If you need any further advice about caring for your new olive tree, get in touch with our team.