Russian olive trees (Elaeagnus angustifolia), also known as silver berry trees, are hardy plants that can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. Here are some tips for growing Russian olive trees:
- Choose the right location: Russian olive trees prefer full sun and well-drained soil. They are drought-tolerant once established, but they will grow faster and produce more fruit if they receive regular watering.
- Plant at the right time: The best time to plant Russian olive trees is in the fall or spring. This allows the tree to establish itself before the hot weather arrives.
- Prune for shape and size: Russian olive trees can grow quite large if left unpruned, so it is a good idea to prune them regularly to maintain a desired shape and size. Prune in the winter when the tree is dormant.
- Fertilize: Russian olive trees benefit from fertilization with a balanced tree and shrub fertilizer in the spring. Follow the label instructions for the appropriate amount to use.
- Monitor for pests: Russian olive trees are relatively pest-resistant, but they can be prone to infestations of scales and mites. Keep an eye out for these pests and treat as needed with an appropriate insecticide.
- Plant in a wind-sheltered location: Russian olive trees have brittle branches that can break easily in windy conditions. Planting in a wind-sheltered location can help protect the tree from wind damage.
- Protect young trees: Russian olive trees have thin bark that is prone to damage from pests and mechanical injury. To protect young trees, you can wrap the trunk with a tree wrap or a protective tree collar.
- Water regularly: Russian olive trees need regular watering to establish a deep root system and grow well. Water the tree deeply once a week, or more often if the weather is particularly hot or dry.
- Mulch around the base of the tree: Mulching around the base of the tree can help retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Use a 2-4 inch layer of mulch, being careful not to pile the mulch up against the trunk of the tree.
- Prune for fruit production: Russian olive trees are known for their small, silvery fruit, which are popular with birds. To encourage fruit production, prune the tree to remove any weak or damaged branches.
By following these tips, you can help your Russian olive tree thrive and produce an abundance of fruit.