This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area



August 9, 2016

A neat trick for keeping the base of your olive tree looking neat


I love the sculptural quality of the base of an olive tree. But trimming off all of the little suckers (yes, that's the real name for them, I'm not kidding here) can be a pain. There have been times when I've neglected my olive trees, and I have had to do a lot of work trimming them back, but now I just give them a shave every once in a while, with a chisel.

It's actually kind of relaxing to do. I sit on the ground and scrape off the new growth. I also scrape a little bit to flatten the bumps. The trimmings I just let fall to the ground, like the leaves, and they turn brown, and become mulch. The trunk shows some light green areas where the trimming was done, but it goes away very quickly.

I have two olive trees here, one in front and one in back. They were planted by the previous owner of this house over twenty years ago, so they give nice dappled shade, and require no additional water (olive trees have deep roots, and they live in the desert, and go find their own water). I spray every year so that no olives are formed, and I have the tree-trimmers do their thing every few years. And several times a month, I chisel!

Olive tree base right after being cleaned up with a chisel

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