Many people ask me how my centuries old olive trees are doing. In my ‘save the trees’ blog and part 2 I describe how the deadly Xylella bacteria is killing all olive trees in Puglia. I wish I had different news, but also the trees at Tiny Trullo are having a hard time. Not only because of the extremely high temperatures and the drought but mainly because the deadly Xylella bacteria is spreading like wildfire. Xylella thrives in the heat, while the resistance of the trees actually deteriorates.
In this blog, you can read how they are doing. Will the advice of the ‘tree doctor’ I found, be able to save them?
A while ago I tried a kind of ‘tree IV’ by Invaio; infusion bottles that drip vitamins and minerals into the trees sap stream. I tried for a year, but they don’t really make a difference, as I also hear from others who have installed them. It was even said that it could be harmful because it would dilate the sap flows of the tree and therefore give the Xylella more access to the tree. So I stopped with this experiment.
Then I met Robert Kiss (Yes, that’s his real name!), a ‘tree doctor’. He knows everything about trees and prunes them by hand, with a handsaw, in the old-fashioned way. This takes more time (and therefore money) than what the locals do nowadays: with large machines and chainsaws. Robert’s way is better for the trees because he really looks at what the tree needs per branch. He says we can keep the trees healthy(er) by properly pruning them subtly at different times during the year, making them resistant to Xylella for longer. Mounds of earth are also constructed around the tree trunks so that the tree roots are less affected by the heat.
Of course, I want the best for my trees, no matter what the cost. Tiny Trullo without trees, that’s impossible to imagine, right? In the south of Puglia, I see more and more land with dead trees, it has become a ghost area, a desert, so sad. I will do everything I can to prevent that.
So we started maintaining my trees his way. Half of my trees were pruned three years ago and thankfully looked good (the photo on the right is a pruned tree). The other half (the neighbour’s land that I later bought) had not been maintained for 15 years (the large tree in the left photo). They were huge (and beautiful, I thought), but the trees were dormant and the Xylella had taken over: you can see that there are a lot of dead branches. In short: they urgently need help.
A schedule was drawn up and we (Robert and his team) got to work.
Unfortunately, I heard from Robert this summer that the ‘good’ trees are now also heavily affected by Xylella, so the pruning schedule is being accelerated.
Fingers crossed, please light a candle for the TinyTrullo (and all the other) trees, they really need it.
PS Will you support me and the trees in this fight? Please consider adopting an olive tree. Together we stand stronger!