Olive tree advice needed


Earlier in the year I bought two olive trees. I would guess they are about 5 years old.  Both are looking really healthy but they have both acted very differently.  One of them did not produce any fruits, instead it threw out loads of new growth and now is about three times the size of the other.  

The second one however decided it was going to just produce olives.  The tree now is full of them but unfortnatly they are all still quite small and hard and with the heat of summer now behind us i'm afraid they probably won't be growing much bigger.

My question is should I cut off all the small fruits so it is just back to leaves?  Or should should I leave the olives on and will they just not grow much over the winter but start again in spring and next summer?

Also could you please advise on the best way to over winter an olive tree.  I do not have a greenhouse to move them into.  I was thinking perhaps cover the pots up with fleece during November to February and if we get any snow this year i may move them into the shed for a week. The shed's a bit dark, but at least it won't be snowy.  Is this a bad idea?

Kind regards,

Josh from Somerset


  • I have an olive tree which is in a pot and have had for several years.  It is quite slow growing and has produced olives but very small.  I don't cut off the olives but just let them  drop off naturally.  I over winter the tree in my greenhouse which is unheated and so far it has survived! You should certainly take the trees inside if possible over winter or use fleece as you say.  I would think your shed would be o.k as the tree would have stopped growing and producing new leaves.  The important thing is to keep it sheltered from frost especially as our winters are unpredictable. I did leave my tree out one winter and it lost a number of branches.  Anyway good luck with them as they are lovely trees to grow.

  • Hi Josh - where are you in Somerset?  I am in West Somerset in Porlock Vale, so benefit from a fairly benign climate.  But the olive tree that I bought a few years ago (from the Eden Centre as it happens) does very well in a large pot and is left outside to fend for itself.

    If you are more exposed, without the benefit of the sea's influence, then perhaps you need to think about a bit more protection over winter.  But I just leave mine outside, and it is very happy.  (That said, I am still waiting for olives.  My martinis are just not right --- yet!) image

  • I bought an olive tree 2 years ago from Suttons (I think) which was only 1-2 year old. I have left it out over the 2 winters we have had and it has been fine. Quite a suprise to me as I live in Glasgow and the first winter was quite rough. I am yet to get any havestable olives though, they did appear this year but are tiny. Fingers crossd for a better summer next year!

  • Paul NPaul N Posts: 222

    We have two ten year old olive trees which remain outside during winter. During one winter, one was cut down to the ground by the freezing weather but shoots later appeared from the base. The fruit will never properly mature in our climate and remain like bullets.

  • Hi please help I have two olive trees about ten years old! I lived in Essex where they were happy to be outside all year round, my front of house was south facing! They were perfect beautiful Plants! & are in pots! We moved to cornwall four weeks ago and are in tempory accommodation , one is flourishing whilst the other is looking very sorry ful, leaves are dropping and dying ????please help I really would like to help it get back to flourishing like its companion! Thankyou Amanda

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