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Aluminium bubble wrap and olive trees

I've recently moved from Central London to the Sussex Coast and I've brought my two large 5 year old olive trees with me and I'm wondering about their health as they're showing signs of leaf curl in places and droppy branches, mainly lower down so I've cut them back hoping the upper parts will remain healthy, however I'm still not convinced all is ok. Although the winds in London could get up its obviously windier here by the coast, and  due to space I've positioned them as best as I can with north wind protection from the shed but I can't shelter the east wind as suggested online as it's an open area, however in my location it's actually more a southern wind that comes in from the sea that tend to blow them. Before planting I read online that its a good idea to wrap the pot in bubblewrap and ideally inside the pot rather than the outside and to then put the whole pot in the ground rather than planting an olive tree directly in the ground due in th UK due to frost in the winter. I didn't have regular bubble wrap but I had a box of aluminium bubble wrap hanging around so I lined the pot with it before planting, however I'm now wondering if the aluminium on it is ok or if it has an alternative effect? The bubble wrap has an aluminium side facing out towards the inside of the plastic pot, and the other side of the bubble wrap next to the soil is plain plastic. The pot itself is like I say plastic and I've drilled plenty of drainage holes and put a layer of gravel in the base of the pot as well as digging deeper in the ground and laying a thick layer of gravel under the pot for extra drainage as the soil in the garden is clay so not that free draining. I've used a mix of general purpuse compost and john innes and grit so it should drain ok. However when I water it it seems to drain down very slowly so that's one issue but the other is the one sided aluminium bubble wrap. Obviously aluminium pots are used all the time so I hope it's fine in terms of soil ph but as I'm trying to keep the heat in I wonder if the aluminium coating facing out is an issue. It is inside the pot and like I say the bubble wrap facing the soil and tree is clear not aluminium on both sides, so is it a major thing or am I over worrying and I should just wait for the summer to kick in and for the tree to get over the shock of being uprooted?


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,832

    I've never heard of putting the bubble wrap inside the pot, only outside so that it's removable in summer.

    I expect the uprooting was a shock, did you keep as much earth on the roots as possible during the process?

    It sounds as though you've allowed for enough drainage, but I wonder why it drains so slowly, I hope it's not too wet and soggy inside the pot.

    My daughter, who lives south of Poitiers in France, has an olive tree in a pot on her terrace. It can get pretty cold in winter where she is but the tree has been fine so far.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Thanks for responding...

    I hadn't heard of putting bubble wrap inside either but several olive tree sellers suggest it as its to cold they say to plant directly into the ground here in the winter and frozen roots are the one thing that an olive trees cannot return from. This seller suggests it for example... 

    It's more the aluminium on one side of the outwards facing bubble wrap that I'm concerned about really.

    I did keep as much of the original soil as possible, but there was a major root coming out of the two trees that broke through the original pot into the ground that I had to eventually cut as it just wasn't pulling out, even with three people and all then soil removed from the original pot/location in London.

    Ive the same soil mix and drainage as last time, in fact there's more gravel under the pot on the ground than before so I'm baffled as to why it drains slowly. It does drain but just not as freely and as fast as it used to. I put my hand right down in the pot to the base yesterday and it seems fine, it's moist but not soggy, nor dry.

    Im pretty south as can be in the UK as I'm four streets up from the sea in Hove with a direct south facing location with the trees facing out across the hill to sea so they have more sun than ever.

    I hope it's just the uprooting, and the time of year that's the issue, I know the leaves thin out in spring but I've not noticed the branches weeping before or bits of black appearing on the odd leaf and branch. The upper tree looks fine and I've cut the weeping lower ones off now so hopefully it'll strengthen them. I left them outside all year in London, but maybe it's just to exposed here, so I should cover them next winter. Or maybe I could pop them over to your daughter in France for the winter, so they're a couple of degrees warmer image

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,832

    I think it's the uprooting, I'd wait a bit.

    I live in Dordogne, it's usually colder here than in England in winter and where my daughter is it's colder than on the English south coast!

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
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