Chopped and ReChopped Olive

ColinFraser

Masterpiece
Messages
2,369
Reaction score
5,604
Location
Central Coast, California
USDA Zone
9b
I just potted up a little olive I bought from a landscape nursery, probably in late 2014, and I thought I'd share its evolution thus far - it's certainly been instructive for me.

It was several feet tall, and I cut off all the long stuff so it could stand up in the car. One of the reasons I bought it (besides he fact that it was something like $16) was the larger base - yes, it has kind of a funny hump, but I found it oddly charming. This is what it looked like when I brought it home:

image.jpeg

This post is partly a cautionary tale about not chopping low enough, because over the following year I cut it back repeatedly without ever getting anywhere. What a waste of all that energy!

image.jpeg
 

ColinFraser

Masterpiece
Messages
2,369
Reaction score
5,604
Location
Central Coast, California
USDA Zone
9b
I guess that paid off, because when I slipped it out of the 5# nursery can the other day it had a nice radial spread of fine roots right at the base, despite the original muck at the bottom. I wasn't going to make the mistake of being timid with this one again:
image.jpeg

I hit the roots pretty hard. 99% of the original mass is gone.
 
Last edited:

ColinFraser

Masterpiece
Messages
2,369
Reaction score
5,604
Location
Central Coast, California
USDA Zone
9b
Nothing amazing, but it's been a fun little tree to practice my torture techniques on ;)
It's a landscape variety, so the leaves are pretty big, thought they do reduce well, and it's probably relatively flower/fruitless.
 

Brian Van Fleet

Pretty Fly for a Bonsai Guy
Messages
10,432
Reaction score
23,649
Location
B’ham, AL
USDA Zone
8A
Nice job. Your learning curve and material selection have been impressive. You "get it". Other newbies should read your threads to see how to avoid the agony usually associated with being new to bonsai. Keep it up.
 

ColinFraser

Masterpiece
Messages
2,369
Reaction score
5,604
Location
Central Coast, California
USDA Zone
9b
Nice job. Your learning curve and material selection have been impressive. You "get it". Other newbies should read your threads to see how to avoid the agony usually associated with being new to bonsai. Keep it up.
Thank you; that's very kind.
I also put my best foot forward by keeping some of the stupid crap I bought in my first year or so to myself! ;)
 

ColinFraser

Masterpiece
Messages
2,369
Reaction score
5,604
Location
Central Coast, California
USDA Zone
9b
The root spread around the base that you ended up with was pretty impressive. I bet that the leaves and innernodes will be smaller now that its in that little pot.
Thanks. I think it will slow down too; that's partly why I cut it back again - no good growing small leaves and internodes at the end of big leggy ones. Then I'll just have to cut them off . . . again!
 
Messages
3,554
Reaction score
4,189
What I think you have come to terms with this tree is how to best utilize the material. Olives I am sure are a bit more forgiving, but nonetheless, you have managed to reduce the material down to the bare essentials to move forward towards establishing a great tree.

Without getting into a big discussion over what material one should obtain whether big box store or not... my own personal attitude and view is that no matter what the scenario, there is and will always be a path forward towards accomplishing a good tree. It is the decisions and talent of the artist, that either bring this to fruition or not, and it is often experience that determines how long this journey will take. This is evident obviously by your multiple attempts... which looking back might seem like time wasted... and a wish as you have said to of made certain decisions earlier...

However, for me what I see is just the opposite. .. I see time well spent learning, which for me will always be worth way more than the tree... there will always be trees... and once you learn to create one, you will be able to make many more!
 

ColinFraser

Masterpiece
Messages
2,369
Reaction score
5,604
Location
Central Coast, California
USDA Zone
9b
there is and will always be a path forward
Absolutely, and sometimes that path is chopping nearly everything off - advice that can often be hard to hear . . . and even harder to take ;)

Thanks for your comments.
edit: I'll add, in case it wasn't clear from the price, that this was purchased at a wholesale landscape nursery.
 

Alain

Omono
Messages
1,355
Reaction score
1,057
Location
Niles, IL
USDA Zone
5b
Sweet tree! :cool:

I love olives, too bad they won't survive Il winter. :(
May be next year when I will have a 'winter studio' in the basement and will be able to stock-up on tropical/Mediterranean without having my wife freaking out cause of all the trees invading the house :)

Btw: all the little round pebbles are fertilizer beads? What do you use?
 

ColinFraser

Masterpiece
Messages
2,369
Reaction score
5,604
Location
Central Coast, California
USDA Zone
9b
I think the next step will be to address the lowest branch on the right - it's too straight and too thin. I'll probably keep everything else in check and let it run a bit. Hopefully I'll get some buds closer to the trunk to cut back to in the future . . .
 

Adair M

Pinus Envy
Messages
10,641
Reaction score
21,523
Location
NEGeorgia
USDA Zone
7a
Ok...

What are your goals? You stated you want a bigger, curvier lower right branch. What else?

My observations:

You're trying to grow out this tree, you need to let it grow. Let it grow out whips about 10 inches long before you cut back. A larger pot would help. You might be able to bend that first branch, might not.

Don't pinch it. Let it grow out. Then cut back and wire. See my before and after pictures on the Before and After thread of my olive.
 

Similar threads


Top Bottom