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Kaolin: The Organic Treatment for Olive Trees and Vines

That’s how we use kaolin powder to protect olive trees and vines from insects and hot weather during summer

We at Podere Conca have been cultivating for years our 800 olive trees following the certified organic agriculture, therefore we are now collaborating with   Olivicoltori Toscani Associati, Agea, and Terre dell’Etruria, to the “Improvement of the environmental impact of olive growing” financed with the contribution of the European Union and Italy.

This project is developing a programme to prevent from the fly of olive tree by using kaolin.

Indeed, the fly is one of the most dangerous threats to produce olive trees and olive oil.

What is Kaolin?

The kaolin is a clay, a tender sedimentary stone, which is used for organic agriculture: a powder to mix with water in different concentrations which is later sprayed on plants.

This bright white patina, differently from the synthesis products that are forbidden for organic agriculture, forms a physical barrier acting as repellent and protection mask that discourages the fly perforating the surface of olives and laying eggs.


The Olive Tree Fly

Indeed, the olive tree fly is highly damaging because, in addition to cause the loss of pulp, influences on the maturation and the strength of the olive to be attached to the stalk, therefore it can cause it to fall becoming useless to produce high-quality oil.

Olive con danno da mosca dell'ulivo

Plus, when the larva becomes adult, it will create a large hole whilst leaving the olive, through which infesting micro-organisms could penetrate the fruit and cause problems to the quality and acidity of oil.


The experimentation that we are conducting includes two or three treatments starting from June up to September depending on the seasonal trend.

The kaolin is not dangerous for human beings and will dissolve at the first autumn rain.

Plus, our olives will be carefully washed at the olive press before cold pressing.

These treatments are obviously more expensive than those made with synthesis products because they must be made more frequently, but the organic certification of our oil is surely an added value, which will become essential in the future.

Therefore, it is fundamental for us that the hand-harvested olives are fully intact to achieve the highest quality and the lowest acidity.


Bottiglia olio di oliva biologico

The risult is Tuscan Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil with an acidity lower than 0.8%, green in colour with golden reflexes, with fruity scent and mild artichoke notes.

Monitoring Thermal and Drought Stress

Moreover, kaolin has become a great support to protect the plants from thermal and drought stresses during these increasingly hotter summers.

Indeed, its bright white powders reflect a part of sun rays helping to lower the temperature on leaves and limit their transpiration, allowing to limit the damages due to thermal stress.

Fogli di vite con polvere di caolino

In this case we use kaolin for our vines too.


by Cristina Bernezzo e Linda Franceschi