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Fruitless Olive Tree – You may wonder what exactly an unproductive olive tree is. Many people are unfamiliar with this magnificent tree, which is frequently utilized in landscapes because of its aesthetic appeal. The olive tree with no olives (Olea europaea ‘Wilsonii’) is hardy in USDA zones 8-11 and grows well in the Mediterranean climate. Continue reading to find out whether this is the ideal tree for your southern garden.
What is a Fruitless Olive Tree?
A unique evergreen, this olive tree is characterized as growing at a slow to moderate pace and producing a distinctive fruit. It may grow to be 25-30 feet (7.6 to 9 meters) tall and about the same width when fully mature. If you’re thinking about putting one in your landscape, keep this in mind. It may have a single trunk, although it is more likely to have multiple trunks. These are twisted and distorted, with greenish-gray foliage atop the structure. This tree requires at least 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
While the tree has been characterized as an olive tree without any olives, some of the tree’s owners believe this is an exaggeration. During the spring blooming season, trees may produce a spray of olives from sterile yellow blooms. These undeveloped fruits fall off the tree in small clusters and are difficult to find. This is why cultivating fruitless olive tree variants is a viable alternative to cultivating the genuine thing.
Fruiting olive trees are prohibited in certain parts of the southwestern United States because of the large number of fruits that fall to the ground. This results in a blockage of drains and staining of driveways and decks, which is a major nuisance. In addition, the fruits attract unwanted animals. Flowers often generate pollen, which many people are sensitive to. Growing unproductive olive trees removes the need to deal with these problems.
Fruitless Olive Tree Varieties
There are a few distinct types of fruitless olive trees on the market. While they all seem similar to typical olive trees, they differ significantly in appearance and fruiting. These are some examples:
- ‘Majestic Beauty’: This variety is the most consistently non-fruiting.
- ‘Swan Hill’: This variety seldom bears fruit and, as an added benefit, is pollen-free.
- ‘Wilsonii’: These are attractive, sturdy trees, although they may yield enough fruit to be conspicuous.
- ‘Little Ollie’ and ‘Skylark Dwarf’: Two compact types suitable for patios and pots.
Planting Fruitless Olive Tree
When deciding where to plant a new fruitless olive tree, take into consideration how long the sun will shine in the region. As previously stated, a minimum of eight hours is required. Taking into consideration the shadow that may be created by nearby trees as they begin to leaf out is important when considering this element in the spring. Ideally, you should be able to see the sun at the location at various times of the year. Additionally, ensure that there is a 30-foot gap around the outside of the area, enabling the fruitless olive to extend its branches freely.
The soil around the planting location must be well-draining. While most fruitless olive tree types are drought resistant after they have formed a strong root system, they need frequent watering until that root system has grown. Root rot is an issue that may occur if water does not drain fast enough. Pour in drip irrigation if it is possible, since the root system will need nearly daily watering for a period of time.
Another aspect of caring for a barren olive tree is feeding it with a high-nitrogen fertilizer in the spring while the tree is young. A yearly maintenance program that includes pruning to eliminate suckers may be in the works. Remove any twigs or branches that have holes in them while you have the pruners on hand, since they may have been harmed by borers during their assault. The barren olive tree, on the other hand, is mostly immune to pests and disease.
Caring Fruitless olive trees
If you want to attempt to prevent your barren olive tree from producing any olives at all, you may perform some mild trimming of the younger growth branches. Typically, these are the branches with blooms that will develop into olives. Keep in mind that you don’t want to go too far with the trimming and ruin the form of the tree.
Applying a fruit-inhibiting spray containing ethylene is another method for suppressing fruiting. Spraying must be timed to coincide with the formation of the blooms and is expensive to apply every year, particularly as the tree gets bigger. Therefore, most people do not find this to be a very practical choice.
Common Pests and Diseases
When cultivating a barren olive tree, you may encounter a number of problems. The branch and twig borer, a kind of beetle, will bore holes into the olive tree to deposit its eggs. Borers that have just hatched will dig further deeper into the tree, ultimately killing the twig or limb they are on. The American plum borer, a kind of moth, may inflict comparable harm. To avoid future damage, prune any twigs or branches with obvious holes.
Furthermore, many fungal diseases may harm barren olive plants. Good air circulation and lots of sunlight will aid in the prevention of these illnesses. If you think your tree has a fungal disease, take a sample to your local cooperative extension or a reputable nursery and inquire which disease it is and how to cure it.