How to grow olive trees in the UK

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Although olive trees conjure up images of warm weather and the sun-kissed Mediterranean, you can grow an olive tree in the UK. It isn't so much the weather that matters, but creating the conditions olive trees prefer. Plant mature olive trees because they are more hardy than young plants, making them better suited to the UK's temperate climate.

Find a location that gets plenty of sun and provides protection from winds coming from the east and north. Olive trees need lots of sunshine to allow fruit to ripen.

Dig a large hole in proportion to the size of the tree. A large hole allows you to create the correct drainage for your olive tree. Good drainage is one of the most important factors when it comes to growing olive trees. Put gravel in the base of the hole and then add a good quality compost around your tree.

Add slow release fertiliser around the base of the olive tree. Use a fertiliser containing medium levels of nitrogen. Apply the fertiliser on two or three occasions, when the tree reaches full growth during the warm months.

Feed the olive tree with a liquid plant food once a month and seaweed extract once a year. Seaweed extract helps the tree reach its full fruiting potential.

Water the olive tree during dry spells. Even though the UK experiences a lot of rainfall, hot and dry summers aren't unusual.

Prune your olive tree every year in late spring.Prune new shoots when they reach 1.5 metres (5 feet) in height. You will also have to remove some old branches to prevent crowding. Pruning helps keep the olive tree at your preferred size.

Protect your olive tree from temperatures below -5 degrees C (23F). Northern parts of the UK can experience cold days during the winter. Wrap a few layers of hessian cloth or horticultural fleece around the tree's trunk.

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