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Transplanted Olive tree trunk split

Posted by Pete16 none (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 12, 14 at 8:15

Hello Expert,

I live in Morocco and have transplanted about 80 olive trees in December, they were in the ground and were about 6 years old. I noticed that many of them had a split in the trunk (see picture) 2-3 weeks later. I was wondering why they may have split, and if there is anything that can be done for these trees, or are they not going to make it .

Any help is much appreciated. Thanks

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Transplanted Olive tree trunk split

Too prevent further splitting you can drill a hole through the center of the trunk and use a long bolt or cable run through the hole with a washer on one end and threads on the other end to allow adjustment to give the trunk more support. I did this with a large oak but I did not loosen the bolt often enouigh and it was eventually engulfed by the tree, but it did not split further.I would also seal the crack with a sealent to keep out water.

RE: Transplanted Olive tree trunk split

Here is a more detailed response I found on the internet and paraphrsed. "With a power drill bored a hole through the tree at the site of the split. Then use large brass bolts that won't rust, and being an alloy of copper it may have some antifungal properties. Put a large bolt through the hole and secured it. Then use a wrench to tighten nuts on the end. Eventually the tree will grow over those metal rods, incorporating them into it’s structure, and being all the more stronger for it, with no adverse damage, because they go through the cambium layer, not around it. Now use both a can of tree pruning sealer and a can of natural shellac wood sealer. Shellac is an all natural waxy resin made by insects and used in everything from wood products, to food, to pills. You probably eat a little bit every day, it is harmless, but it seals wood good. Insects and diseases love open wounds and so it was important to seal the tree with something. That taken care of, the last thing you need to worry about was water. Just like with concrete, water can get in a crack, freeze, and then widen and make the crack worse. Even with the shellac the force of water expanding as it freezes was a potential hazard. Put silicone caulk over the crack (but not the bottom) preventing any water from seeping in, but if any does, still allowing it to seep out. Silicone is a neutral and inert substance and the tree will probably grow around it fine, or, after healing has progressed, I can take it out."

RE: Transplanted Olive tree trunk split

Pete, the method Charles gave you works great! I used that method on different trees with great success.

As to why they split. Unless you removed a lot of the top growth, the trees were very top heavy at 6 years. Just hitting the ground would have been enough to split a lot of them. Olives are pretty brittle.

If you do this again you might want to remove 30-50 percent of the canopy. Olives get a very dense canopy that I liked to thin for ease of harvest. You removed at least that amount of roots when you moved them. So you would be doing the tree a favor.

RE: Transplanted Olive tree trunk split

We just transplanted 2 small trees (3 years old). Both show signs of shock. Will they recover? They had roots and top pruned for the journey. But there are plenty of roots left in the root ball.

They have never fruited. They were started from cuttings. I don't expect fruit for a few years, but I hope we didn't kill them in the move.

RE: Transplanted Olive tree trunk split

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 12, 14 at 12:46

rig up some temporary shade for them desertdance, that will help a lot. Keep soil moist.

RE: Transplanted Olive tree trunk split

Thanks hoovb! We have some shade cloth. Maybe we can tie it over the canopy. They are both in full sun. I'll do it!

They are on the drip system, and their ground is damp.


This post was edited by desertdance on Wed, Feb 12, 14 at 13:46

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