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Re-potting olive tree - ANTS, ANTS & more ANTS

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Comment from Julie burns

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Hi, I am trying to re-pot an olive tree as ther are hundreds of ants in the pot but I am breaking the new roots as I am removing the ants. Will this damage the tree? I would be grateful for any advice.
Thanks Julie

  • Views: 8934
  • Replies: 5
  • Posted: Sun. 19th May 2013 13:32

Re: Re-potting olive tree - ANTS, ANTS & more ANTS

Reply from Polly

There must be an ants nest in the pot ... this happened to my mother in law but the little blighters actually made it into a big pot plant she kept by the front door! No matter how many individual ants you get rid of, the queen will keep on churning out replacements. If you are only repotting to get rid of the ants, why not just kill the ants by using one of the proprietary poisons on the market that the ants take back into their nest ... once the queen is dead the colony will not survive long. We recently repotted our olive tree and were astounded how pot bound it had become in a very short time .. breaking the pot was the only way to get the tree out without breaking too many roots.

  • Posted: Sun. 26th May 2013 09:22

Re: Re: Re-potting olive tree - ANTS, ANTS & more ANTS

Reply from

Hi Polly,
Your post is quite old now but for future reference why not try placing potted up common garden mint next to the potted olive tree or anywhere ants are plaguing you. They HATE mint and you can watch them scarper when you crush a mint leaf or two onto the soil. Don't let the mint take root though which is why just standing mint plant next to treasured tree should work in about 2 hours.

  • Posted: Sat. 17th August 2013 15:35

Re: Re: Re: Re-potting olive tree - ANTS, ANTS & more ANTS

Reply from Polly

Hi .. it wasn't my OP, TBH, I wouldn't bother with anything outdoors ... as another poster said, they don't seem to do harm. It was only in my mother in law's houseplant that she had standing in the corner of her hall where we used insecticide. I try to live and let live in the garden .. I have been happily coexisting with a hornets' nest in my potting shed all summer. I do bring big bunches of fresh mint into the house, which seems to keep the numbers of houseflies down.

  • Posted: Sat. 17th August 2013 16:54

Re: Re-potting olive tree - ANTS, ANTS & more ANTS

Reply from Stuart Morris

Unless the ants are causing a problem it is not necessarily a problem letting them continue. You can use pesticides but my success with these has been limited. I tend to incline towards the opinion that ants 'continually shifting the soil and ruining plants' is a fallacy. You are more likely to harm the plant than the ants. Think of it this way - in Greece and Italy do you think in vast orchards they keep the ants out...

  • Posted: Fri. 31st May 2013 19:12

Re: Re-potting olive tree - ANTS, ANTS & more ANTS

Reply from anne cutler

I have had the same thing in the past with both olive and fig trees. I think ants just like setting up colonies in very large pots! I didn't do anything at all and the trees are still thriving.

  • Posted: Mon. 10th June 2013 15:41