Olive tree in the north east of Britian?

Marvin(North East UK)November 2, 2002


Ive recently bought an olive tree, But with the winter and frost approaching rapidly Im concerned Im going to lose it.

The winters here are bad, wet and cold(-5c and lower).

Is there any way of keeping him warm and alive this winter outdoors?

And is there any specailists on Olive trees in cold climates who could pass on some advice?



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eduarda(Z10 - Portugal)


I can give you no insight on how this olive tree will behave in your climate, but in Portugal olive trees are a common sight inland, both in the South (Alentejo) and up North (Trás-os-Montes). The climate in both areas is quite extreme, to our standards, with very warm Summers (easily reaching 40 Celsius) and quite cold Winters. In Trás-os-Montes that´s where you typically get snowfalls - temperatures below zero are not uncommon at all.

So what I mean to say is that olive trees seem to be tougher than people realise. In my opinion, it´s not the cold in Winter that would do damage to yours, it´s the absence of a hot and dry Summer.

Maybe someone in a more Northernly position than me can give more specific input to your question.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2002 at 11:50AM
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John_D(USDA 8b WA)

I just got two olive trees, but since the winter weather tends to be damp and cold up here (just below the 49th parallel), I am keeping them in pots. I roll them outside on warm, sunny days, and back into the garage when the temperature drops below 50F. So far, they look very happy.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2002 at 1:27PM
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Bridget_Lancs_UK(North West U.K.)

It's my birthday!
I've been given a young olive tree, about 10 feet tall, 4-5 cms diameter, in a 35cm diameter pot.
It will live in a south-facing 1st floor garden room, glass front and back walls, sloping glass ceiling, which reaches temperatures of over 100 degrees when the sun shines, and is kept frost free all year.
Citrus and bamboo get scorched - I don't want this happening to my lovely olive.
Can anyone give me tips for caring for it in these conditions? - watering, feeding, repotting (I'm considering putting it into a 40x40x40cm terracotta planter, using John Innes 3 with added grit)

Thank you,


    Bookmark   April 24, 2003 at 1:15PM
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Olive is a tougher plant than citrus. It is said to be sensitive for water logging but it is not as sensitive as citrus in that regard. I have grown olives for about 15 years, first inside and the last couple of years in a conservatory.
Olives like sun and have built in sun protection. Leafs are often silvery and they can alter angel to be faced from the sun. However, few plants like temperatures close to 40 C so try to ventilate if it is risk of becoming to hot. Anyway, I have never got any damages on my olives.. If you have prolems with getting fruit you might have to buy another variety for cross pollination.

Olives are not very fussy about soil and are resistant to most pests. The overall resistant to things like water logging, tolerance of saline conditions, drought and so on, are mainly dependent on the variety.

Good luck with your olive.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2003 at 3:45AM
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laa_laa(Sunset /8 or 9)

Olive trees can withstand the cold, but try to provide enough drainage for it....L.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2003 at 4:56PM
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Hello, we have two young olive trees in a garden near Geneva, Switzerland (altitude about 400m). Last winter we had night temperatures of -9 deg C and a strong east wind. I think the trees were ok down to about -5C, so long as they warmed up during the day. Any colder, and in prolonged cold and in any cold wind they need to be wrapped once or twice in garden fleece and the trunk wrapped in hessian. Even then after the winter the dry dead top growth had to be trimmed off, they also lost some leaves. Apart from that they were fine...although they have never fruited.
P and J

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 10:36AM
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I have been offered a 2.0m olive tree for Christmas. I wish to plant it outside on S-facing slope in sandy lime-rich loam in S Devon. Advice on site preparation, please. Philip.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 6:59AM
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I've been looking into planting olive trees here in north Arkansas for some time. As far as soil preparation goes, I recall that one of the big growers suggested a small amount of Azomite in each planting hole. It contains all of the elements. I would think kelp meal or some other micronutrient-rich amendment works as well.

I'm worried that it's too cold here to leave them unprotected. Most olive trees are only hardy down to 17 degrees F or so, and it gets below 0 F here sometimes. Somewhere, long ago, I heard of a Hungarian variety that was extremely cold hardy - I've kicked myself for not writing that down. If anyone knows how to obtain this variety, or what the name is, I would sure love to know!

Otherwise, I guess I can plant them and bank on global warming!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 2:46PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Plant in tubs and overwinter under cover. If you want to keep these for years in Arkansas you will probably have to put up a greenhouse for them to be placed in each fall.

What they want is Mediterranean conditions, like those in parts of California.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2007 at 9:22PM
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Well, I am about to go through my first winter with my lovely new (expensive!) olive tree in my high, cold, windswept Lincs garden. After trawling the web, this is the advice I've found, hope it helps you!!

1. Trees hate it when the soil freeze - thaws as this damages roots. Freezing happens really easily if your tree is in a container (small surface area etc.), so either bring containers in or plant into the ground.

In the ground, insulate roots by mulching to 10cm with bark chippings, but leave a small space around the trunk so it doesn't rot.

2. Freeze-thaw is worst in dry soils so keep the soil moist. Water well on a mild morning so the water has a chance to drain through and doesn't either waterlog or freeze overnight.

3. Lag the trunk - the best suggestion I've found is to use snap on pipe lagging a bit too big. Leave an 'air gap' for the trunk to 'breathe'.

4. (Yes really!!) Put fairy lights in the branches and leave them on over really, really cold nights - this will stop the leaf buds from freezing off (allegedly). Not sure what it does to the bats or your carbon footprint, though!!

Hope we both still have living trees next summer!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 6:13AM
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