If you are a fan of gardening and want to add new plants to your space, the olive tree, believe it or not, is a very good option. The olive tree adapts very well to growing in a pot, so it can give a different touch to your garden; and it has the advantage that it does not require much care. But not all of it is good news, although it is relatively easy to grow, there are several common problems with olive trees in pots, and we will talk about that in this post.
Just as a couple of months ago we listed the most common problems in lemon trees grown in pots, this time we will not only be enumerated. We will also provide solutions to each of these problems to ensure that your olive tree can grow in the healthiest and strongest way. In addition, we will especially focus on making it clear to you what is the ideal pot for olive trees, something key to avoid many problems.
1. Problems with olive trees in pots
Growing potted olive trees can be challenging due to several common problems gardeners face. The most common problems and solutions to address them are described below.
1.1 Space limitations
Olive trees can grow very large, so they may need larger and larger pots as they grow. This can be a problem for gardeners with tight spaces, as they can be difficult to move or store when not in use.
Symptoms: The olive tree grows excessively, the roots come out of the pot, the trunk widens and the branches extend excessively.
Detection: Observe the growth of the plant and compare it with its size in previous stages, comparing with photos or measuring the diameter of the trunk.
Solution: It is important to choose an appropriately sized pot at the time of purchase, and then transplant the plant into a larger pot when necessary. It is important not to let the plant grow too large for the pot it is in, as this can limit its growth and put its health at risk. It is also important to consider transplant options such as a substrate with better drainage or even the possibility of moving the olive tree to a plot of land.
1.2 Need for adequate drainage
Olive trees require well-drained soil to prevent root rot. Excess water can cause serious health problems for the plant, since the roots cannot receive enough oxygen.
Symptoms: The roots of the tree appear rotten, the leaves turn yellow and fall, the trunk widens and the branches spread excessively.
Detection: Check the roots at the time of transplanting or pruning, observe the leaves of the tree looking for symptoms of chlorosis.
Solution: It is important to choose a substrate with good drainage and place gravel or stones in the bottom of the pot before planting the olive tree. In addition, it is important to control watering and make sure that the soil does not become puddled with water. Adding extra drainage to the pot, especially flat-bottomed pots, is recommended to help excess water drain properly. It is also important to make sure that the pot has drainage holes in the bottom to allow water to escape.
1.3 Irrigation requirements
The olive trees need to be watered regularly, but they must not be flooded. An excess or a lack of watering can seriously damage the health of the plant.
Symptoms: The leaves of the tree turn yellow and drop, the trunk widens and the branches spread excessively.
Detection: Observe the soil in the pot, if it is very wet or very dry.
Solution: It is important to establish a regular watering schedule and ensure that the plant receives the proper amount of water. It is advisable to use a drip irrigation system or a watering can, and not spray the leaves directly with water, as this can cause fungal disease problems. It is also important to note that olive trees require less water during the winter months, when their growth is slower.
1.4 Pruning problems
Potted olive trees often require regular pruning to maintain proper shape and prevent the branches from becoming too large for the pot.
Symptoms: The branches of the tree are too large for the pot, the leaves are too close together, and they do not receive enough sunlight.
Detection: Observe the size of the branches of the tree and compare it with the size of the pot.
Solution: It is important to regularly prune the olive branches to control their growth and maintain proper shape. It is advisable to prune in winter when the tree is in a period of vegetative rest. Pruning should be done with clean, sharp shears to avoid damaging the branches. It is also important not to cut too close to the base of the branch, as this can cause damage to the trunk.
1.5 Protection against the cold
Olive trees are sensitive to the cold, so they may require additional protection during the winter months in cold climates.
Symptoms: Tree leaves turn brown, branches break due to the weight of snow or cold wind.
Detection: Observe the leaves and branches of the tree during the winter months, looking for signs of cold damage.
Solution: It is important to ensure that the pot is protected from cold wind and snow, and it may be necessary to cover it with a mesh or tarp. It is also advisable to place the pot in a place protected from the wind, such as under an eave or behind a wall. If the weather is very cold, you can cover the trunk of the tree with a wool blanket or a tarp to keep it warm. It is important to ensure that the tree has enough water during the cold months, as the soil can freeze and not be able to supply water to the roots.
1.6 Protection against pests and diseases
As in field crops, potted olive trees can be exposed to pests and diseases, it is important to be aware of the conditions and take the necessary preventive measures.
Symptoms: leaves with spots, insects or parasites on the leaves or on the trunk, damaged fruits.
Detection: Regularly check the tree for pests and diseases, especially during spring and summer.
Solution: It is important to take preventive measures to avoid pests and diseases, such as maintaining good hygiene in the garden and removing plant debris. The use of organic pesticides and fungicides is recommended to control pests and diseases. It is important to follow the dosage instructions for the product and to make sure that the product is safe for growing olive trees. It is also important to keep the soil in good condition, as healthy soil can help prevent disease.
1.7 Using an improperly sized pot
Using a pot that is too large or too small for the olive tree can limit its growth and affect its health. A pot that is too large can make it difficult to control watering and drainage, while a pot that is too small may not provide enough space for root growth.
Symptoms: In too large a pot, roots may appear rotten due to excess moisture, in too small a pot, roots may appear dry and stressed due to lack of room to grow.
Detection: Observe the growth of the plant comparing with previous stages, comparing with photos or measuring the diameter of the trunk, checking the roots at the time of transplanting or pruning.
Solution: To solve this problem, it is important to choose an appropriately sized pot at the time of purchase, or transplant the plant into a larger or smaller pot as needed. It is also important to take into account that the olive tree needs adequate drainage and controlled irrigation and adjust the measures accordingly. It is also important to consider transplant options such as a substrate with better drainage or even the possibility of moving the olive tree to land.
2. Best pot for olive tree
Selecting the right pot to grow an olive tree in a pot is important to guarantee the growth and well-being of the plant. Size is a key factor to consider when choosing a pot for an olive tree, as too small a pot can limit root growth and too large a pot can make it difficult to maintain proper soil moisture. A pot of around 45-60cm in diameter and 60-80cm deep is a good choice for an olive tree.
Another aspect to consider is the material of the pot. Some commonly used materials for pots include:
Plastic: It’s light, cheap and strong, but it doesn’t breathe enough, which can cause moisture problems and can retain too much heat in the summer.
Metal: It is strong and durable, but it can cause problems with heat and humidity, and it can be heavy and expensive.
Wood: is natural and attractive, but requires regular maintenance to prevent decay and can cause moisture problems if not treated properly.
Clay: it is a traditional option and allows good air and water permeability, but it is heavier and more brittle than other materials and cracks easily if humidity levels are not maintained.
Fiberglass or composite: they can be resistant, light, durable and do not require much maintenance. But it has a high price compared to other materials.
Taking these aspects into account, you can choose the best material for the healthy and sustainable growth of your olive tree.
2.1 Transplant and pot change
It is true that repotting with some frequency and changing the pot can be important for the growth and well-being of a potted olive tree. As the olive tree grows, its roots also grow and can completely fill the available space in the pot, which can limit the growth of the plant and cause humidity problems. Transplanting the olive tree into a larger pot provides more space for the roots and helps maintain a good moisture balance in the soil.
In some cases, it is possible to avoid having to transplant the olive tree to a larger pot by root pruning. Root pruning consists of cutting the roots of the olive tree at the base of the pot with a sharp knife or pruning shears. This helps to control the size of the roots and to keep them inside the pot. However, it is important to bear in mind that root pruning can also be detrimental to the olive tree if it is done excessively or at the wrong time. Therefore, it is important to have prior knowledge of how to root prune and do so with caution.
In general, it is important to bear in mind that the olive tree is a large plant, so it requires a large pot, with enough space for the roots, and good drainage to avoid moisture problems. In the case of not being able to change the pot, root pruning may be an option to consider, but it should always be done with caution and with prior knowledge of the subject. It is important to monitor the plant to see if the pot is large enough for growth, and as the olive tree grows and requires more space, consider transplanting it into a larger pot.