Olive Tree - Bonsai Lesson Plan

Informal Upright Style Bonsai
Scientific Name: Olea europaea

Native Habitat:

Olive tree is endemic to the Mediterranean, from the centre of Italy and south, but also in the great lakes of the pre alps. Acid and alkaline soils are not a problem for it. It can tolerate hot, dry weather and also hot and cold winds. It is a slow grower but very strong and can achieve a great age. This is a tree that can adapt very easily in a foreign environment.


In the early stages when the tree is younger morning sun is preferable. Once established after a couple of years you can introduce the tree to full sun as they can adapt readily to changed conditions. There one weakness is to extreme cold particularly frost.


Repot in early spring the end of July to the beginning of August when the buds sprout, removing one third of the roots and eliminating old leaves by one third every 2-3 years.

Informal Upright Style Bonsai
Scientific Name: Olea europaea
Olive Growth Habit:

There are three growth stages in the life of olive; childhood, youth and maturity. Initially childhood grows only by a tap root forcing most of it���s vigour to form a trunk. This stage takes up to seven years. In youth it sprouts a second generation of rots that increase in proportion to the number of trunks while fine roots form much deeper. In maturity it now grows out many fine superficial roots and the trunk changes its shape, also the bark now changes to become course and corky.


Water thoroughly, but let it go dry after each watering, but not too much. The olive tree is watered a lot, but this depends on light, wind, humidity and exposure, but once it is fully established prefers to be in full sun.


Feed with organic food with a slow transfer, but use a normal feeding like other trees, Nitrosol in a diluted form, 15 mls to 2 litres of water, one cup of the mix once weekly applied during the growing period. It is also important to add trace elements at least once a year. This can be done with the use of a complete fertilizer with trace elements or trace elements in a slow release form.

Pests and Diseases:

Pests and diseases include green aphids (especially if you have ants), red spider mites.

Pruning and Shaping:

Pinching differs according to bud colours and the age of the tree and the cycle of growth. The new buds and stems are usually green, violet or tan. In young trees, one cuts to the first or third set of leaves, according to the direction of the buds. When stems turn from violet to tan it will grow only a few more buds. With young and old trees, you pinch when the branch is still green or is almost violet, eliminating the last couple of leaves. Also pinch out leaves and buds that grow downward. Stop pinching if the temperature is down to 10c (50F) or up 40C (104F). By pinching in this fashion you will have smaller leaves and shorter internodes. Generally, almost all the leaves that are on green stems ramify less than half as much as those on the violet stems.

Wire young trees and stems hat are only 2-3 years old. Wire from late fall to spring, and only as necessary to control the branches, olive wood is soft and easily damaged. In aged trees, the wire is applied to the older branches, but it is a good idea to use raffia during dormancy.

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