The olive tree (Olea europaea) is an ancient tree farmed and cultivated in Mediterranean regions since 3000 BC. From ancient times until today, man, especially Ancient Greeks and Romans, has exploited the fruits of this tree both for food and the production of olive oil. Plus, the Ancients have spread it to the western part of the Mediterranean and then worldwide.
Olive trees are evergreen plants. They need low temperatures during winter and many hours of sunlight in spring to blossom. Yet, frost damage may occur due to the extreme cold, especially if you have small trees in pots and containers. An easy way to protect them is to wrap the pot with an insulating material. You may already know how to protect plants from frost or how to care for a potted olive tree. Are you now ready to find out how to wrap an olive tree for winter and a little more advice to promote new growth?
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Why protect olive trees from frost
Olive trees are eternal and evergreen plants. However, they need some extra protection, especially during the winter months. Most olive trees can withstand severe frost up to -10 degrees Celsius, especially mature trees that are located to the ground.
Due to their small trunk, petite and young olive trees can tolerate winter cold up to -5 degrees Celsius. You guessed that right! That’s why you need to protect them from the winter frost. In both cases, you need to increase the tree’s hardiness by protecting it from cold weather.
How to protect an olive tree from frost in the open ground
Olive trees like to be in a frost-free, dry climate to survive, especially if you want them fruiting. Thus, if you have trees in the open ground, they need winter protection. A way to protect them is to wrap them with a fleece plant jacket.
Here’s what you have to do:
- Place the fleece jacket over the top of the tree.
- Wrap layers of the fleece around the trunk. You may need to stuff it with straws as well, for extra protection.
- Tie the fleece layers in place with twine.
You can also use a winter cover. Just open the zipper of the cover now and then to prevent mould.
How to protect an olive tree from frost in a pot or container
Newly grown trees are usually kept in pots or containers. They are kept there until they grow up a bit to be transplanted to the ground or for decorative purposes. These trees need extra treatment to withstand winter conditions. Here are some things you can do:
1. Bring them indoors
Growing olive trees in pots and containers gives you the option to move them indoors. However, you need to be sure that the inside temperature isn’t dramatically different from the outside. When you decide to move it, you need to keep in mind that an olive tree likes cold. Moving it into a heated place can damage it.
You can leave your potted plants outside until late September or early October. You should keep them indoors until late Spring (the beginning of May). However, these dates may vary depending on the weather of each region.
2. Wrap them with bubble wrap
If it isn’t possible to bring your potted trees inside, there’s another way to provide winter protection. You can cover the pots with wrapping plastic bubbles. It’s an insulating material that will prevent the cold from reaching the roots.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Bring the pot as close as possible to a window to be benefitted from the house’s warmth and be protected from the weather.
- Mulch the base of the tree to protect it from cold.
- Place pot feet to raise the pot off the floor to let the water drain away.
- Wrap the pot in 2-3 layers of bubble wrap to keep frost away from the roots.
- Covet the branches and stems with horticultural fleece and hold it in place with clothes pegs.
- During the winter months, avoid watering a lot. Do it only if rain doesn’t reach the tree to prevent waterlogging the roots.
Extra care tips for your olive trees
Generally speaking, olive trees are easy-to-grow plants, and they need almost nothing. We are about to share with you a few pieces of advice.
- Water them very well, especially during early spring. Drοught of this period can affect flowering and fruiting.
- Feed them regularly, every two weeks, with a liquid feed during the growing season.
- Prune them in late spring to mid-summer to remove diseased and drying branches.
- For olive trees in the ground, create a slope around the tree’s base using garden soil to block water from flowing near the roots.
- Don’t water and fertilise your trees after harvesting.
Whether you have olive trees in the open ground or a pot, you need to protect them from winter frost. Wrap the former with a fleece jacket and the latter with wrapping plastic bubbles and remove the wrapping in both cases when frost danger has passed. If you want your trees to survive from frost, you just need to follow our tips. We assure you that they will thrive and remain healthy!