The Q&A Archives: Sweet Olive

Question: I have 2 sweet olive trees one on the north side of my home the other on the south side. They both grow tall but don't fill out and make the fragrant smelling flowers like they are suppose to. They once had lichen on them and my nursery said use copper soap and I did and it went away. What can I do to get them to fill out, my mother gave them to me and she has since passed away, help me please

Answer: Sweet Olive is adaptable to most soil types and will grow in full sun to part shade. The fact that you have them in two different areas with two different sun exposures with the same growth problems makes me think that your watering/feeding habits might be contributing to their failure to thrive. You didn't mention whether or not you regularly prune them. Flower buds develop over the summer months for display in winter. Try pruning them both back a little. You'll encourage healthy new growth and with any luck they will also develop flower buds. If you remember to prune them every spring they will fill out instead of being thin and lanky. The more new growth they develop in the summer months, the more likely they are to bloom for you. Feed them each spring with a 10-10-10 time release ferilizer and be sure to water deeply once each week during the growing season. Best wishes with your landscape!

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