Instructions for Planting or Re-potting Your Olive Tree

03/01/2014

The procedure for planting your olive tree in the ground is essentially the same as for re-potting it. It is not necessary or even advisable to dig a hole several times larger than the root ball. Prepare the hole before removing the tree from its pot. If you are adding any organic material (not necessary or recommended), mix it thoroughly with the native soil for back-fill.

When you are ready to re-pot your olive tree, get a larger pot and some good quality commercial potting mix. Always be sure to use potting "soil" that drains well. Never use dirt out of your yard or heavy, dense potting medium labeled for house plants. It is good to go ahead and move it up and let it feed if the weather is warm. Unless you are in a very warm climate, don't fertilize it after August. Always be sure to use fertilizers that are safe for putting in pots.

Be careful with your tree — don't pull it out by its stem. You may want cut the pot for easy removal. If you want to reuse the pot, place one hand over the top of the root ball to hold the potting medium in place, turn the tree upside down (or nearly), and give it a quick shake or two to loosen it from the pot. Remove the pot and upright the tree, supporting it by the bottom of the root ball. Never tear apart the roots or wash the potting medium out of the root ball. Have the new home ready before taking your tree out of its pot. You can measure the potting medium level by firming some in the new pot and then placing the still potted tree in it to see that the level is good. Be sure to water it often after the transition, and regularly thereafter. While MATURE trees can resist some drought, olives are not desert plants, and can suffer or even die from lack of water. Trees kept in containers need more water than those planted in the ground. Do not let the bottom of the pot stand in water. We recommend against adding rocks or other material in the bottom of the pot because it robs your tree of growing medium. Pebbles, pot shards and the like can also block drain holes.