Olive (Olea europaea, var. ‘SanFernando’)

European olives were first introduced to California by Franciscan friars in the late 1700s, where they were an important crop of the Spanish missions. They grow well in southern California and are easy to propagate from cuttings.

This bonsai was bought at Walter Andersen’s nursery in San Diego in July, 2011. The variety, “SanFernando”, is a small-leafed cultivar. The tree began its life at the San Gabriel nursery near Los Angeles.

January 3, 2019:
The tree this afternoon.
July 3, 2011:
The newly purchased tree in 2011. This picture is after repotting. I should have thinned the top growth to one or two branches at this time to prevent reverse taper.
December 30, 2012:
Improving the nebari with a sacrifice branch.
February 17, 2013:
Repotted into a larger pot. Attempted (unsuccessfully) an air-layer of the sacrifice branch with sphagnum moss in aluminum foil.
August 10, 2013:
Air-layer removed (cut visible at base of tree).
February 22, 2014
Long growth.
September 9, 2014
Branches pruned. “Uro” from removed sacrifice branch visible at base of tree.
May 2, 2015:
Good root structure, nebari.
May 2, 2015:
Pruned and repotted, reverse taper visible in top third of tree.
May 22, 2015:
Reverse taper at trunk split.
May 22, 2015:
Pruned to begin addressing reverse taper.
May 14, 2016:
More pruning a year later to reduce taper.
September 2, 2016:
Large root extending above soil surface.
August 3, 2017
Long root one year later.
August 3, 2017
Removal of long root.
January 13, 2018:
Tree taking shape.
March 4, 2018:
Root-pruned, repotted.
May 12, 2018:
New growth.
November 24, 2018:
Branch pruned.
January 3, 2019:
The tree this morning, before the upper left branch was removed.

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