When and how to transplant an olive tree

When and how to transplant an olive tree

This fall we will change the appearance of our back garden a little. This small green area that we have at home, will stop being a rockery to become a somewhat flatter space. The reasons are diverse and, although I love the terraced structure that forms the rocks, I hope that the new design will be more functional without losing the aesthetics. One of the great challenges that I face is the transfer of some plants that I want to continue maintaining and, of all of them, the small olive tree is the main one. If like me, you are interested in knowing how an olive tree is transplanted, I invite you to continue reading.

Transplanting my olive tree ( Olea europaea ) seemed like a complicated proposal, but after consulting with the gardener and the person who is going to excavate the ground I feel somewhat more confident. Both agree that olive trees are resistant plants that generally respond well to transplantation. The truth is that an olive tree can live hundreds of years withstanding very harsh conditions. In addition, it seems that doing so in autumn is a good time because the temperature of the soil and air is still warm and the roots can be restored.

The olive tree in my garden is not very old, nor very large, but uprooting it and moving it to its new location is not an easy task to do by hand. Our plan is to take advantage of the shovel that will do the excavation to remove it with as many roots as possible and transport it to its new location. In the case of an olive tree with a manageable size, the process can be done by hand digging to remove the root ball.

Below I describe, step by step, the transplanting task:

1. Prune to reduce the cup size

The first thing to do is prune the olive tree as much as possible, but respecting the branches of considerable size. Removing some branches will allow the transplant to be more comfortable, but if it is topped or pruned excessively, it will take a long time to recover.

2. Dig and remove the root ball

You have to determine the size of the root ball based on the size of the cup and dig a ditch around. If, as the cava deepens, large roots appear, they are cut with a clean and sharp saw. The root ball is shaped like a ball, there will come a time when you have to place a shovel under the roots and move, shake or even cut to release them. Once loose, the tree must be lifted from the ground keeping as much soil as possible next to the root.

3. Move the olive tree to a new hole

The ideal is to have a hole prepared with the same depth as the root ball but much wider, twice as possible. It introduces the roots of the transplanted olive tree, water and covers it with soil. To finish, the surface must be trampled (with the feet will suffice) and water once more until the soil is well soaked.

If it is not possible to bury the root ball immediately after tearing it off, the best option is to put it in a large pot or a sack that can contain enough soil to cover the roots. This container should be irrigated daily to maintain moisture and perform the definitive transplant as soon as possible. The olive tree is very resistant, but the more time you spend outside the land, the less chance there is of success.

4. Maintenance until the olive tree is rooted and established

During the first growing season, we must keep the soil uniformly moist so that there is good development of the roots and the tree is established. When we observe growth (new leaves and branches are formed), we can already decrease the amount of water. The olive tree is a tree that, once established, hardly needs irrigation

This is one of the many jobs that await us in the coming months until we get a new garden configuration. It will still be my little garden, but with a different shape. I’m still not sure about the design, but I would like it to become a corner of this style.

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