Olive Ascolano produce very large ellipse shaped fruit with a soft texture and delicate flavour. The shape is round to oval and there is a high flesh to pit ratio, the stone is small. The skin colour is light green even when ripe. A heavy bearer but the fruit must be handled with care as it bruises easily. Fruit bears regularly when young then develops alternate bearing at maturity.
Olive Ascolano originated in Italy and has a natural rounded shaped tree at maturity, the size can be maintained at 4m x 3m. Resistant to the cold and fairly resistant to Peacock Spot and Olive Knot, shows some resistance to Verticillium Wilt.
Plant in full sun, olive trees show a marked preference for soils that are free draining soil with reasonable moisture retention. They tolerate drought well, thanks to their sturdy and extensive root system. Olive trees can be exceptionally long-lived, up to several centuries, and can remain productive for as long, provided they are pruned correctly and regularly. Spread the roots when planting as they are relatively shallow and would benefit from this.
Shelter is important so that trees can establish well and do not damage as they mature, they have a shallow root system. Some air movement is needed for pollination as well as to dissipate frost pockets during winter.
Olive trees are wind pollinated, with the pollen moving 20 - 30 metres from tree to tree. Some varieties are self fertile, but all will benefit from a pollinator. If planting specifically for pickling the fruit, choose a series of varieties that are all suitable for pickling so that harvesting is simplified. Compatible pollinators for Ascalano is Frantoio or Leccino.
Olive Ascolano is an early harvest olive, excellent for pickling. Fruit is tender and will bruise easily so handle with care. Fruit size is determined by a combination of variety selection, soil type, nutrition, timing of water availability, tree training and crop load. The main aspect to keep in mind in the garden is water availability since there is often root competition in the garden, even if it is only the lawn. Spring to mid summer water stress will limit the size of fruit. Dry conditions later in the summer will assist maturing of the fruit.
Olives require the full range of soil nutrients but not too much nitrogen. A seaweed fertiliser will address the trace element requirements as well as the general nutrient needs.
Trimming for a more open canopy will assist pollination, air movement, spray penetration and fruit colour.
A winter spray program combining at least one oil/copper spray in winter as for citrus is advisable. Also a copper spray in spring before flowering commences should be adequate to control any fungus problems. Leaf roller caterpillar can be a problem so watch for this throughout summer, especially on young plants.
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