Olive trees in pots

Every now and then at My Olive Tree we get some questions about how our trees are grown or about the process of growing and harvesting olives in general. Here are a few of the ones that are most commonly asked:

Q: Do you grow green or black olives?

It’s a common misconception that green and black olives are different types of fruits. In actuality, whether an olive is green or black merely depends on how ripe it is. All olives that are left on a tree will eventually ripen to be black. However, olives can be harvested and pickled at any stage of their ripeness. Green olives are picked when the juice inside begins to turn from clear to milky. Olives used for oil are left until there is some additional color change. Black olives are either ripened while still on the tree or picked and then turned black during processing.

Q: How long does it take for a tree to bear fruit?

It depends on the type of tree and whether it was grown from a cutting or a seed. Some trees fruit at an early age, being just a couple years old. Others can take five

Over 20,000 olive trees have been sponsored through My Olive Tree. Here are the typical reasons sponsors choose to plant a tree in Israel through My Olive Tree:

to twelve years to bear fruit. Cuttings generally produce fruit quicker than trees grown from seeds, which might not ever actually grow fruit.

Q: How much fruit comes from a single tree?

Again, this depends on the variety of tree, but smaller trees usually bear around 30 or 40 pounds of fruit when mature, and larger trees can produce up to 100 pounds of fruit within a season. One giant species of olive tree called the Chemlali produces almost a ton of fruit in a single year!

Q: Do olive trees need to be kept dry?

No. Though olive trees are very hardy and resistant to droughts, they do need a moist soil. Trees that don’t get enough water might not bear fruit or reach their full growth potential. This is why My Olive Tree invests in irrigation for our groves to ensure fruitful and profitable harvests. Even before the trees are planted irrigation lines are run and waiting!

Do you have any other questions about growing olive trees? If so, reach out to us at My Olive Tree today and we’ll be happy to answer them!

MORE FAQ’s About Olive Trees

What is the difference between green olives and black olives?

Olives are green when they are unripe, mottled reddish-purple (rosy) when they are partially ripe, and black when they are fully ripe. Pickled green olives and rosy olives are firmer than black olives, and most people find them to have a sharper more pungent flavor. Pickled black olives have a softer texture and a fuller, more subtle flavor. Preference for either is a matter of individual taste.

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Olive oil is pressed from a blend of unripe, partially ripe, and fully ripe olives. For a sweeter-flavored oil, the mix is 1/4 green, 1/2 partially ripe, and 1/4 black. if you prefer a sharper-flavored oil, you would use more green olives than either fully ripe or partially ripe in the mix.

How cold-hardy are olive trees?

An olive tree isn’t fazed by 32°F. a few varieties of olive trees are extremely cold hardy and can withstand temperatures as low as 10°F. however, most varieties suffer damage when the temperature drops below 20°F and remains at that level for a period of days. Usually, the most likely damage your trees will suffer at that temperature range is tip burning, and they will recover. however, an olive tree is not likely to survive below 10°.

you can spray your trees with water when the temperature is predicted to fall below freezing. The ice that forms on the leaves and branches insulates the tree by holding the temperature to 32°. additionally, a good watering before a hard freeze helps the root system retain heat.

What soils will olives grow in?

The olive tree is a tremendously adaptable plant that can grow in almost any soil that is well-drained. an extremely ph tolerant plant, olive trees grow successfully in ph ranges from 5.0 (acid level) to 8.5 (alkaline level). Since the trees don’t require a lot of organic matter in the soil, they even grow successfully in sand and gravel. in some desert areas, it may be necessary to set the trees in holes drilled through the imperme- able layer. also, a soil that is underlain by a shallow hardpan or a layer of clay could create drainage issues for the trees if water becomes trapped in pockets due to poor absorption, thus drowning the deeper roots.

How soon will my trees produce olives?

The length of time it takes for an olive tree to produce fruit depends on the variety of tree. dwarf varieties (arbequina, arbosana, koroneiki) have been bred to produce as early as two to three years after planting; others may not produce a full crop until they’ve been in the ground for four to seven years.

Weather is one factor that determines production. Olive trees need 200-300 chill hours to produce fruit. Once the olive tree has flowered, a temperature of 90° to 100° F and above, can burn the flowers. This will limit your level of production. however, if you already have fruit on the tree, the higher temperatures will not affect the fruit. The USda is experimenting with products such as Surround and comparable products. Spraying the trees with Surround or a like product right before they are ready to bud insulates the tree against extreme heat.

Water conditions also affect production. after flowering, the trees need adequate water; however, before budding, you can stress the trees by reducing the water slightly. a little stress will promote fruiting.

Missing nutrients in the soil can affect the amount of fruit and the shape of the fruit your trees produce. For example, if you don’t have adequate boron in your soil, your fruit will be misshaped. also, olive trees require adequate levels of potassium and phosphorus for fruiting. There are other macronutrients and micronutrients that can affect whether your crop will be heavy or light, or whether your trees will produce any fruit at all. For a more thorough explanation of adequate nutrient levels, consult The Olive Production Manual.

How much water do olive trees require?

Olive trees are extremely drought-tolerant. actually, more trees suffer damage due to over-watering than to drought. it is difficult to state a general rule for the amount of water your trees will require, since the amount varies according to the water-holding capacity of the soil in which they are planted. The suggested range is 24 to 52 gallons a week, with sandy soil (sugar sand) requiring the most water, and sandy loam requiring the least. For more detailed information on this topic, please click here.

What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

It is all about the acidity level. Olive oil that is .08% or less is classified as extra virgin olive oil. if the oil has an acidity level over .08%, but less than 3%, it is classified as virgin olive oil. any oil with an acidity level over 3% is simply olive oil.

What is Cold Pressed Olive Oil?

When you press olive oil, a paste, pomace, is formed. Once the olive oil has been extracted from the paste, it can be reheated and run through the machine again. The oil resulting from the reheated pomace, it is not considered cold press and is of an inferior quality.

What is first-pressed olive oil?

This means that the oil results from pomace that is fresh rather than used a second time to make oil.

What is the best variety to grow in Texas?

So far we’ve found fifteen varieties of olive trees that are suited to Texas. These are listed in our nursery sec- tion of our website. Some do better in USda Zone 8 and some do better in Zones 9 and 10. We’ll continue to experiment, trying new varieties and growing acclimated stocks of those varieties we’ve proven suitable.

Does Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard offer consulting services?

We do offer consulting services at the rate of $125.00 per hour. This is an opportunity for individuals to meet with the owner one on one and is especially suited to those individuals who want to grow olive trees com- mercially. This consultation is the nuts and bolts of entering this new Texas industry. In addition, we also routinely offer a free tour on Saturdays at 11:00. during the tour we discuss the care and planting of olive trees as well as their commercial value. We answer our customers’ questions on such matters as testing and amending their soils, fertilizing, and selecting appropriate varieties of olive trees.

We’re happy to share our experience with our customers who run into problems with their trees. Give us a call (210-621-0044) or email us to outline your problems.

Olive Trees

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Olive Trees For Sale

We have a huge selection of Olive Trees for sale here at Olive Grove Oundle. These beautiful old trees are perfect as focal points or for creating a Mediterranean style garden. Our younger trees have a shrub like appearance. With some careful pruning and a few years of growth, they can grow into the more traditional Lollipop style olive trees. You can also encourage a young olive tree to take on the Pom Pom or Cloud style. Buy an Olive Grove Oundle olive tree today!

Gnarled Olive Trees

We also have a huge selection of Ancient Gnarled Olive Trees in stock – which can be hundreds of years old! Each Gnarled Olive has it’s own unique style an characteristics. As many of our Trees are unique, you may be asked to select the exact tree you want to purchase. You can do this using the drop down labelled ‘Tree Number’. If you want a closer look, you may want to visit us. Alternatively email us at for more information. If you’re looking to narrow our selection down, you can click here for our Medium Gnarled Olive Trees and here for our Large Gnarled Olive Trees.

Ancient Olive Trees

At Olive Grove Oundle we have one of the largest selection of Ancient Olive Trees in the UK. We have Ancient Olive Trees that are between 200 to 1000 years old that are still holding up! If you’re looking to get an Ancient Olive Tree you can narrow down the selection by clicking here.

It can’t be denied that creating an indoor urban jungle is becoming increasingly popular; Instagram feeds and Pinterest boards everywhere have been inundated with idyllic bohemian images of every room of the house filled with glorious greenery.

What started with an indoor potted palm or succulent here and there, has now developed into homeowners and would-be gardeners becoming bold in their interior choices when it comes to greenery – and it seems that bigger is better.

While the John Lewis retail report predicted the cactus was going to be the 2017 plant of choice, Houzz has stated that oversized plants like the Madagascar Dragon Tree, Fiddle Leaf Fig and Umbrella Plant are among the top 10 plants to grow indoors.

Yes, it appears that the humble houseplant has just got an international upgrade. However, one variety that is often overlooked is the olive tree (olea europaea). Known for gracing the balmy landscapes of the Mediterranean, these ancient plants are particularly tolerant of dry air (and to an extent – soil) meaning they thrive indoors as well as outside when the warmer weather arrives, making it an adaptable houseplant and bringing a touch of sunnier climes into our daily lives.

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Do you want to add an olive tree to your indoor haven? Follow this advice first:

1. Choose wisely: Some varieties of olive trees can grow up to 10 feet tall, and while we are championing the notion of ‘bigger is better’ – a 10-foot olive tree might be pushing the boundary. It’s best to opt for a dwarf variety as these only grow up to six foot. Pruning them helps to keep them compact, while if you are still feeling cautious, you can opt for a bonsai version.

2. Many of us are opting for large plants to brighten up dark corners of a room, but olive trees want to soak up those rays! Make sure that you have a spot in your home that gets direct sunlight for a minimum of six hours. If you are lucky enough to have that coveted southern exposure, this is the very spot! Although let it be said that the plant should be positioned far back enough from the glass – the leaves can burn from the intensified sunlight.

3. When it comes to repotting, there are rules to follow. It’s important to seek out suitable soil; a sandy mix that drains easily is what you should look out for – cactus potting soil is ideal. You need to leave around an inch between the soil and the rim of the pot to leave room for watering; drainage is really important for olive trees, so be sure to choose a pot with drainage holes. Where possible, elevate the tree above a drip tray to make drainage even easier. It’s likely your plant will need repotting after a year of owning it because the roots will have become crowded; for best results, move it up one pot size each time.

4. How do you know when to water? You need to put your finger into the soil until it’s about an inch deep – if the soil feels dry, it’s time to water. It’s worth noting that in autumn and winter, the rate of growth slows and it’s easy to overwater, that’s why going by touch is best practice.

Standard 5ft olive tree, £199.99, Olive Grove Oundle Olive Grove Oundle Daniel Reiter / STOCK4BGetty Images Gnarled Hojiblanca Bonsai Olive Tree, £459.99, Olive Grove Oundle Olive Grove Oundle

5. As well as going steady on the watering front during the winter months, it’s time to ease off the ‘feeding’ too. During spring and summer, olive trees require a balanced houseplant fertiliser twice a month – but this drops to once a month in autumn and winter.

6. Indoor olive trees are unfortunately vulnerable to scale; insects that suck sap and weaken plants. You can identify plants that are being affected by the sooty deposits, or white waxy eggs on leaves and scales, on the stems and leaves. If you spot any of these signs, it can be treated by spraying insecticidal soap.

7. If you had dreams of cold pressing your own olive oil, that probably won’t happen with an indoor plant – they need to experience the drop in nighttime and daytime temperatures and two months of temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius in order to produce fruit. While they are native to notoriously warm countries, olive trees can withstand temperatures as low as -7 degrees!

8. If you decide that you want to move your olive tree into the garden, it will need to be transitioned gradually. All danger of frost needs to have passed for the tree to survive outside; it should be first moved into a sheltered spot of the garden and exposed to wind and sun over a period of 10 days to help it to acclimatise. The tree is self-fertile, but if you plant it in the garden then planting more than one tree will aid cross-pollination and yield a bigger harvest. If you want to bring the plant back inside once the warmer weather begins to wane, you will need to acclimatise it once again. Moving it back to a shaded spot with lower levels of light helps it to adjust to indoor conditions.

9. Finally, in order to keep olive trees from outgrowing their space in your home, the tips need to be pruned. To make sure that the foliage receives plenty of light and air, prune out entire branches – this also maintains a full, bushy shape.

And there you have it – a place for caring for these ancient plants. Olive trees are becoming popular home editions, guaranteed to make a statement and bring a touch of the Mediterranean to your home or garden.

Discover a huge selection of olive trees at Olive Grove Oundle

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Growing Olive Trees Indoors

Botanical Name: Olea europaea and hybrids

Growing olive trees indoors has become popular in recent years — and for good reason. This Mediterranean native is tolerant of dry air and (somewhat) dry soil, making it an extremely adaptable house plant.

In its natural habitat, an olive tree can reach up to 20 ft (6 m) tall. However, indoors, planted in a pot, you can keep it much smaller. Dwarf olive trees only grow to 6 ft (1.8 m). Pruning olive trees will keep them compact.

Olive tree branches are covered with attractive, narrow, gray-green leaves that grow 1-3 in (2.5-8 cm) long. The undersides of the leaves are covered with fine hairs.

Clusters of small, creamy white flowers may appear in the axils of the leaves in summer, followed by ripening fruits. Give your olive tree plenty of sunlight to get it to bloom. Although the flowers aren’t long-lasting, they are delightfully fragrant.

Prune your plant back when new growth begins in spring to keep it compact. Pruning olive trees long branches will promote vigorous new growth and an attractive shape. Use sharp pruners to cut the stem at a 45° angle, 1/4-inch above a leaf node (where a leaf attaches to a stem). Pruning will force branching from just below where the cut was made.

Repot in spring. Move a young olive plant to a pot that’s just 1 size larger every couple years or when it outgrows its pot. Always use a pot with a drainage hole to prevent soggy soil and root rot. Large plants can be top-dressed each year, instead, by replacing the top 2-3 inches of soil.

Buy Olive Trees and Supplies

You can buy olive trees from online nurseries. A dwarf olive tree is an attractive non-fruiting tree that will stay much smaller, making it an ideal house plant. A bonsai olive tree also makes a beautiful accent for a sunny room.

You’ll find that growing olive trees indoors is well worth it. These evergreen trees are low-maintenance and long-lived.

Tips for Growing Olive Trees Indoors

Origin: Mediterranean region

Height: Up to 10 ft (3 m) when grown in a container. Dwarf varieties reach up to 6 ft (1.8 m). Pruning olive trees will keep them compact. A bonsai olive tree is pruned and shaped to stay much smaller.

Light: Full sun. Growing olive trees need as much direct sunlight as possible year-round. Give the plant a quarter turn every week in front of the window to ensure even growth. Moving your plant to a sun-drenched porch or patio for the summer will give it a boost.

Water: Growing olive trees are thirsty spring through fall. Water thoroughly, then allow top 2 in (5 cm) of soil to dry out between waterings. Don’t allow the soil to get soggy which can quickly kill this tree. Reduce water in winter, when plant is resting.

Humidity: Average room (around 40% relative humidity); tolerant of dry air.

Temperature: Average to warm 65-75°F/18-24°C. Olive trees will tolerate high temperatures, so don’t worry about putting your tree outdoors for the summer — it can take the heat. It will tolerate a minimum of 40°F/4°C.

Soil: Sandy, fast-draining mix, such as a cactus potting mix.

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks in spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Or apply a slow-release fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, in early spring.

Propagation: Sow seeds or take stem tip cuttings in spring. With a sharp knife or razor blade, take a 4 in (10 cm) stem tip cutting with 2-3 leaf nodes. Dip cut end in hormone rooting powder before inserting in moist potting mix. Olive tree cuttings do not root easily.

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By Okhoo Hanes, U. C. Master Gardener of Napa County

The olive tree (Olea europaea) is well suited to Napa Valley. The tree’s Mediterranean origin makes it a natural fit for our sunny, arid and temperate climate. Our warm summers encourage fruit growth, and winter provides the necessary 200 to 300 chill hours (hours under 45°F). The olive tree is frost-resistant, withstanding temperatures down to 15°F.

Rich soil and fertilization improve fruit yield, but the olive tree tolerates poor soil. Deer do not like olive leaves, fortunately, as many a plant in the Napa Valley succumbs to their voracious appetite.

Once established, olive trees require little or no water. Still, deep watering every other week in a hot summer results in better fruit production and helps sustain the tree during drought years. Generally, a rainy winter will almost fulfill the tree’s annual watering needs, unless your objective is a good fruit crop.

Extreme weather does not appear to affect olive trees drastically. Even so, growing olive trees in the Napa Valley is not entirely trouble-free.

The olive tree can be grown for both culinary and ornamental purposes. Raw olives are not edible but you can cure them or press them for oil. Branches make beautiful wreathes. In landscaping, the silvery-green olive tree contrasts nicely with dark green redwood trees and the brighter greens of oaks.

The olive tree is evergreen, low care and drought tolerant. Due to this generally unfussy habit, it makes a suitable accent patio container tree, a privacy screen or even a hedge. Dwarf varieties tend to reach six to eight feet in height, adequate for a hedge. But standard varieties can reach 30 feet in height and width. With close spacing and systematic pruning, they can create a tall, dense barrier. Olive trees in containers will need regularly watering to maintain moisture levels due to their limited root zones.

If you are growing olive trees purely for ornamental or hedging purposes, consider a fruitless variety. Then you can avoid the hassle of harvesting or cleaning up fallen fruit, the patio staining caused by dropped fruit and the necessity to spray for olive fruit fly. Fruitless varieties include Swan Hill, Majestic Beauty, Wilsonii, Bonita and Little Ollie, a dwarf type topping out at about eight feet. Although Swan Hill produces neither pollen nor fruit, other fruitless varieties may produce tiny flowers and fruit occasionally.

If you would like to cure olives, you can find a detailed recipe online from the University of California Cooperative Extension (http://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Details.aspx?itemNo=8267 ). Or plan to attend the U. C. Master Gardeners of Napa County food-preservation workshop on July 27 (details below).

If you would like to press your olives for oil, some commercial facilities such as Jacuzzi Winery in Sonoma accommodate home growers with small production by aggregating the fruit for pressing. For current information about local olive-mill options, contact the Master Gardener office.

Popular olive varieties for oil include Arbequina, Mission, Manzanillo, Sevillano and Frantoio.

Depending on the variety and when the olives are picked, the oil can range in flavor from peppery to buttery. Before planting olive trees for oil, educate yourself about the flavor differences. Many wineries that grow olives offer olive oil tastings and many specialty-food markets carry varietal olive oils.

Olive fruit fly is the most common pest of olive trees in the Napa Valley. It lays its eggs in the fruit, rendering the olives unusable. Do not add damaged fruit to your compost pile; discard the olives in a brown yard-waste bin. The fly was first found in Napa in 2001 and is now ubiquitous throughout the county. Preventing or minimizing the infestation is critical to slowing its spread.

If you have fruiting olive trees but don’t care about harvesting the fruit, spray trees with a plant growth regulator containing ethephon (available in many nurseries) in May or June to prevent fruit set. Alternatively, water the trees with a high-pressure hose during flowering. If your trees do produce damaged fruit, harvest it and discard it. Be sure to pick up any fruit on the ground as well.

If you do want the fruit, spray trees with Spinosad, an organic control, following manufacturer’s directions. Harvest early in November and pick up all fallen fruit.

The University of California website has excellent information on growing olives in the home garden. (http://homeorchard.ucanr.edu/Fruits_&_Nuts/Olive/). Paul Vossen, an olive authority and former UC farm advisor for Marin and Sonoma Counties, produced a detailed slide presentation on olive cultivation, titled “Olive as a New Crop” (). Although intended for commercial producers, the presentation’s content should be of great interest and usefulness to home gardeners as well.

Workshops: U. C. Master Gardeners of Napa County will hold a workshop on “Growing Olives” on Saturday, July 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Location will be provided after registration. Would you like an olive tree or two in your garden? Olive trees are an attractive evergreen and can provide fruit when properly cared for. Learn what to do in every season to have a healthy tree and tasty harvest. Online registration (credit card only); Mail-in/Walk-in registration (check only or drop off cash payment).

U. C. Master Gardeners of Napa County will hold a workshop on “Freezing and Dehydrating” on Saturday, July 21, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., at Napa Farmers Market, 195 Gasser Drive, Napa. Freezing and dehydrating are ways to preserve your summer bounty in its prime, whether you have too much ripe at once or simply want to get a head start on stocking up for winter. Join UC Master Gardeners as they discuss the benefits of each method and some different ideas for snacks and pantry staples. The workshop is free but registration is required. Online registration.
U. C. Master Gardeners of Napa County will hold a workshop on “Basic Food Preserving” on Saturday, July 27, from 10 a.m. to noon, at University of California Cooperative Extension, 1710 Soscol Avenue, Napa. Canning, freezing and drying are among the most basic food preserving methods. It is important to practice safe methods and to stay up-to-date with the most reliable d information about food safety. Master Food Preservers will discuss each process, the equipment required and hazards to avoid, and give demonstrations and recipes. Online registration (credit card only); Mail-in/Walk-in registration (check only or drop off cash payment).

Master Gardeners are volunteers who help the University of California reach the gardening public with home gardening information. U. C. Master Gardeners of Napa County ( http://ucanr.edu/ucmgnapa/) are available to answer gardening questions in person or by phone, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to Noon, at the U. C. Cooperative Extension office, 1710 Soscol Avenue, Suite 4, Napa, 707-253-4221, or from outside City of Napa toll-free at 877-279-3065. Or e-mail your garden questions by following the guidelines on our web site. Click on Napa, then on Have Garden Questions? Find us on Facebook under UC Master Gardeners of Napa County.

Planting Olive Trees

Successfully establishing a young olive tree starts with your planting site and method. Once established, it needs little assistance to grow and bear fruit; but you’ll want to make sure you give your tree the right foundation.

NOTE: This is part 4 in a series of 11 articles. For a complete background on how to grow olive trees, we recommend starting from the beginning.

Before you plant, check your soil pH. Contact your local County Extension Office for information about soil testing in your area, or purchase one of our digital meters for quick and accurate results. Olive trees need a pH level of 5.5 to 6.5. They grow well in almost any well-drained soil, but prefer deep, fertile soil with high moisture capacity.

Planting Site

  • Choose a site that is protected from wind and freezing weather and receives plenty of sunlight.
  • Olive trees don’t mind cooler temperatures, but they should not be allowed to experience freezing weather. If your outdoor temperatures do not support these requirements, your olive tree can be potted and moved indoors during the colder months. Overwinter your olive tree in a protected area where it is not exposed to freezing temperatures.

Planting Tips

  • Olive trees need to receive at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. Full sun is ideal.
  • Spacing should be about 10 feet apart.
  • Dig the planting hole about the same size as the container.
  • Untwist or cut any circling roots; otherwise, disturb the root ball as little as possible.
  • Do not add soil mix, compost or fertilizer to the hole.
  • Fill the hole with the original soil and water thoroughly.
  • No pruning necessary at planting time.

Potting Your Olive Tree

  • Potted trees should be planted at the same depth they are in the shipping pot.
  • Choose a potting mix/medium rather than top soil to avoid any contaminants and avoid compacting around the roots within the container in the future.
  • When planting in a container, the pot you choose needs to be large enough to accommodate the tree’s current root system with room to grow. Be sure the container you use has adequate drainage holes.
  • In cool climates, keep protected until outdoor temperatures warm and the chance of frost is gone. Move the plant into a protected, sunny location, preferably with a southern exposure.
  • Water as needed, when the potting mix in the container is dry to the touch an inch or so below the surface. Avoid overwatering and watering too frequently, as this creates an environment for root rot and other root-related issues.
  • As your olive tree grows, you will be able to increase the pot size to allow for more room to grow. Restricting the roots in a smaller container may limit growth and fruit production.
  • By your tree’s second summer, you can plant it in a larger container, usually 16-20 inches in diameter. Refreshing the soil every one to three years will give you the opportunity to replenish soil nutrients and encourage healthier growth in your olive tree.

In This Series

  • Introduction

Getting Started

  • Acclimate
  • Location
  • Planting
  • Soil Preparation

Care & Maintenance

  • Fertilizing
  • Pest & Disease Control
  • Pruning
  • Spraying
  • Watering

Other Topics

  • Harvesting

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