Gardening expert JJ van Rensburg's advice for olive trees

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Gillian Eva

Sara Truter of Somerset West writes: I have a 10-year-old olive tree that has grown well but has not shown any signs of bearing fruit. Last year, I treated it for a sooty mould infestation, but that seems to have cleared up. Now the leaves have these ‘bleached’ spots on them; could this be affecting its fruiting ability? What can I do to improve the health of my olive tree?

JJ replies: Olive trees don’t need cross-pollination but will fruit a lot better when there are two or more varieties flowering at the same time. Olive trees prefer alkaline soil and they especially appreciate an application of agricultural lime every couple of months. Feed every two or three months with 8:1:5 fertiliser to encourage leaves, flowers and fruit. The spots on your leaves are a sign of a leaf hopper infestation (common in olive trees); treat with Avigard or Malathion. Try to mist-spray it over the entire tree and repeat after 10 days

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