What is olive tree liming and why is it done?

Hello!Do you know what olive tree whitewashing is? How it is performed? Why is this work done and what benefits does it have for the olive tree?I hope to be able to answer all these questions throughout the article.

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What is olive tree whitewashing?

Whitewashing an olive tree is applying stone lime slaked with water to the trunk of the olive tree.

This work has been carried out in this area for many years.

I remember since I was little, seeing workers whitewash olive trees in different ways, although I have also done and do this work myself on part of my olive trees.

There are certain discrepancies about whether liming is beneficial or not for the olive tree, the most commonly used is that the lime that falls to the ground harms the stability of the pH, which causes it to become alkaline and cannot properly absorb such important nutrients. like iron found in the ground.

I think this reasoning may be true, but speaking with evidence in hand from the experience I have in applying lime to the legs of the olive tree, I can assure you that this has not happened in my olive grove and I have to add that the soil , it is quite calcareous (high lime content, so it has a high pH), furthermore, they have done this work before us, our parents and grandparents, we are going to trust, even just for once, their experience.

How is olive liming done?

Liming can be done in different ways, depending on the number of olive trees that you want to whitewash and the budget you have for it.

In the past, whitewashing was always done manually, using a bucket with the mixture already made and a brush to apply this mixture to the trunk of the olive tree.

Currently there are two more ways, the first is through a pre-pressure sprayer or through a sprayer with a motor or pump.

Of both the first and the second, there are devices with a small quantity of 12-15 liters, which are used by people. By this I mean that these devices have a type of rope that is used to hang on a person’s back and that use this on its own.

In pre-pressure sprayers, the mixture comes out of the device due to the pressure that the person exerts on it through a system.

Then there are the larger quantity sprayers, 200; 500 or more liters, which incorporate a pump and are coupled to a tractor.

The latter also require more people, at least two, one who is in charge of the tractor and the other who is in charge of applying the lime using a hose.

The latter are more comfortable but also more expensive to use.

I also have to add that slaked lime is very corrosive, so it damages most of the sprayer system in a very short time.

Why is this work done and what benefits does it have for the olive tree?

This work is carried out in this area due to the different benefits it brings to the olive tree, among which I would highlight:

  • Lime is an excellent disinfectant and prevents the laying of eggs of certain insects that are harmful to the olive tree.In the past, lime was used to disinfect water wells that were later suitable for animal and, in some cases, human consumption. By applying lime to the trunk of the olive tree, excellent disinfection is achieved, since it eliminates and repels insects such as ants.
  • Right after the cut, whitewash is an excellent option that allows the cuts to heal without any insects or bacteria infecting them.
  • Reflects the sun’s rays.The white color of the lime allows it to reflect the sun’s rays and therefore provides the olive tree trunk with excellent protection against high temperatures. In this area of ​​Montilla-Moriles where during the summer temperatures reach more than 40 degrees, this for the olive tree is like a jug of fresh water.
  • Tenderizes the bark of the trunk.When I talk about softening, I mean that in many cases, the bark of the olive tree becomes hard and this produces in the olive tree (mainly in 30-year-old olive trees), an exaggerated hardening that reaches the branches. By applying lime, the skin becomes more tender and, consequently, the branches and foliage.

To finish, I would just like to add that it is always advisable to consult with your field technician about all the work and treatments you carry out on your olive grove.

If you want to make a contribution on this topic, you can do so through the comments at the end of this article or through our social networks: Facebook and Google+. All the best!

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