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Question: climbing plants
I recently bought land with 60 olive trees. The olive trees have been abandoned for many years and are now covered with a creeper which, in my opinion, suffocates them. The creeper looks like Hereda helix, I saw the photos on Wikipedia. I tried to eradicate it by hand, but it is an unequal struggle. I would like to know how I can "free" the olive trees and if the creeper can kill the olive tree.
The area where I live is Tuscany and near the sea.
Answer: climbing plants
it is quite common to see olive groves abandoned in most of Italy; once left to themselves, the orchards and olive groves are colonized by weeds, typically ivy, brambles, lonicera (called ligabosc in many places) and clematis vitalba; these climbing plants are very vigorous, and can develop for a few meters every year, quickly covering everything they find, both the grassy ground and the olive trees. If you want your olive grove to become productive again, before thinking about pruning and fertilizing trees, you have to make a clean sweep of weeds. How you do it?
At one time we proceeded cutting the vines and burning them; this method, in addition to not being permitted by law, is not effective, as the soil covered with ash becomes a perfect place of development for weed seeds, and therefore the problem tends to repeat itself over time. There are those who disarm everything, but you also understand that by weeding you risk ruining your olive trees irreparably; in addition to this, herbicides are not harmless substances, and freeing them in the environment is an operation that should be done only in restricted and controlled places, and only when it is not possible to do otherwise. The only effective way to remove creepers from your olive grove is to prune them sharply with a brush cutter, and then to undermine one by one the roots that are at the base of each shrub. This is a huge job, which in addition to giving you a lot of work, will then involve a large amount of waste material, which should be given to the appropriate ecological islands; it then depends on how the municipality in which the olive grove is located collects the waste. Or, if you have one of those tools that chop branches and leaves, you can chip it all, and use it as compost. Estimated time to clean up a single olive tree? A lot. These are hours and hours of patient work; generally rather than cutting all the creepers of the area with a brushcutter, and then proceeding to remove the roots, we prefer to 'release' a few trees at a time, so as to be able to simultaneously proceed with the other cultivation treatments on the plants already freed, while they get rid of new ones. This type of work, very demanding, more or less, should guarantee you a few years of respite from weeds, especially if it is followed by sowing grass plants at the base of the olive trees, once they have been cleaned.