Olive Tree Advice (Photo's Attached)
I planted this Arbequina Olive tree this spring here in Richland, WA and it had a great season…lots of new growth. We love this tree and really want it to do well. We are not looking for huge fruit production, simply we love the look of the olive tree and enjoy it in our backyard.
I wanted to make sure I am taking care of it properly. I’ve attached a few photos. You can see all the new growth on this tree…
My questions are:
1) Should I prune this tree? When/how? Should I do thinning cuts, or cut back the growth from this past season?
2) The white thing…this is a “solar blanket” sold to me by our local nursery. The Arbequina is cold hardy to zone 7, and we are a 6B/7A so its on the edge. I’ve wrapped the trunk and the roots with this blanket (mulch covering it). It does allow water to pass. Has anyone heard of this? The last thing I want to do is encourage rot with this blanket, but I do want to protect the tree.
3) When should it bloom/fruit? Do I need to do anything to help it along?
4) Fertilizer/Compost…any suggestions?
As a reminder - We are zone 7 (although, probably closer to a high 6). My soil is like beach sand when I dig. At the recommendation of the local nursery, I added soil amendments to try to help the tree (cutting out grass around the base) and mixing native soil with compost.
Thank you in advance for the help.