Olive Trees

There are many different varieties of Olive trees that are fun and easy to grow. Their leaves give your yard an elegant Mediterranean feel, and they produce tons of fruit. The taste of home grown olives in recipes or for snacking can’t be matched. Plus they come with the feeling of pride provided by growing your own fruit. Olive trees can even be grown in containers, allowing people to grow them all over the country! Follow these simple steps below for planting success.

olive-treeLocation:

Place your olive tree in an area that receives full to partial sunlight. Olive trees grow best in full sun, but can tolerate shade. Make sure they get at least six hours of sunlight a day. Avoid planting your tree in a low area of your yard that collects standing water, or an area that’s prone to flooding. Olive trees won’t do well in over saturated areas. Container trees should be placed near large sunny windows if kept indoors.

Planting Directions:

Once you’ve scouted out your location for your olive tree dig a hole that’s three times wider than the width of the root ball, and just as deep. Take a shovel or pitch fork and us it to loosen the soil around this sides of your hole. Be sure to remove any dirt clumps, rocks, or grass from the hole. Next, place your tree in the hole. Make sure that it’s level with the surrounding ground and standing straight up. Then backfill your hole, and give your tree a slow deep watering by holding a hose to the base and counting to 20.

greekolive3To plant your tree in a container, choose a container that’s slightly larger than the root ball. Over time you’ll need to increase the size of your container. Make sure that your pot has holes in the bottom, if not you can add holes with a small drill. Line the bottom of your container with rocks to improve drainage. Mix in some citrus potting soil with your natural soil and place your tree in the container. Give it water until the soil is saturated or until you see water running out the bottom of the pot.

Watering:

Olive Trees don’t like wet feet. Don’t over saturate their soil. Every few days feel your soil, once it’s dry to the touch about two inches below the surface then it’s time to give your tree water. Trees in containers often need more water than trees planted in a container.

Fertilizer:

Once every early spring and early fall fertilize your Olive tree with a slow release fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen. For example, formula 17-6-10 would be perfect.

greekolive1Pruning:

It’s best to prune your olive trees in the late winter or early spring. Remove any dead or damaged branches with a sterile and sharp pair of loppers or hand pruners. Keep in mind that olive trees only produce fruit on branches that are at least a year old, so it might be better to wait until after your trees have fruited to prune them.

Pollination:

Most Olive tree varieties are self-fertile. However, they produce much more fruit if they have a mate to pollinate with. Natural pollinators like the wind and bees will spread much more pollen from bloom to bloom between multiple trees.

Weed Control:

If you notice a large amount of weeds growing at the base of your tree it’s best to remove them by getting a firm grip on them and pulling them upwards out of the ground in a twisting motion. Spreading a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch around the base at your tree will help the soil retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing.