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Plant Diseases/Olive Tree


QUESTION: I have this (possible) problem,  I had a huge Olive tree cut down, chipped, roots removed,
etc  months ago,,,but I think it is starting to "come back"!!!  Sprouts are coming up thru
the ground, from old roots, maybe 1-2 feet deep.  I found this on web:

"No matter what the conditions: hot, dry, cold, wet, rocky, or sandy, the olive tree will live
and produce fruit. It is said that you can never kill an olive tree. Even when cut down or
burned, new shoots will emerge from its roots."

Question is:  as this tree "is reborn",  what are the ROOTS below ground doing? Are they
"staying in place"  or still  "moving OUTWARD and/or downward"!?? Could/will the roots
continue to grow, larger and work their way to new underground areas!?  THIS is a problem i.e.,
if they can SPREAD, even now, after tree was (we thought!) dead and gone!  I hope you can help here,,,,if not, do I need to find a certified arborist?  I havent had any luck with this, on the web, although I think I know 1 or 2 in my area,  thanx

Seeking the assistance of an certified arborist is a good idea.  These folks can may a "house call" and see this tree in person to make an accurate assesment of your situation. They are trained to recognize any problems.   I would expect the old roots to cease activity since the above ground portion has been removed that supplies food for the roots, however any new sprouts could produce food for new roots to form and spread eventually.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: What if I cut out/off these new sprouts as soon as they appear?
Would this discourage any "new" roots from forming?  Since I see some
growing now out of the "old" roots, would cutting these out eventually
discourage the "old but existing" roots from getting any bigger or
growing sideways!?

This may work, but may require plenty of patience.  May consider a non selective herbicide that could be sprayed or "wiped on" the foliage/new twigs as they appear. The herbicide (weed killer)could move down the vascular system of the sprouts and kill the roots beneath. One popular material is glyphosate (aka Roundup).  Use this material with caution since it can damage or kill any green tissue that it contacts.  If sprayed on,be sure not to apply during windy periods since it can drift to desirable plants and cause problems.  Your target should be the leaves.  Again, be careful with this herbicide since it is a non-selective material.

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Dr Stephen Vann


Plant Diseases and Disorders of Lawn Grasses, Trees, Vegetables,and Ornamentals


Plant Diseases Identification and Management

B.S. Botany --- Miss. State Univ. M.S. Plant Pathology --- Miss. State Univ. Ph.D. Plant Pathology --- Texas A & M Univ.

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