Growing Tips for Olive Trees

by Mary Van Keuren | Gardener (30+ Years Experience) – last update on December 2, 2021

If your olive tree was grown in a greenhouse, acclimate it to your environment by placing it in a sheltered spot outside. Leave it there for three to four hours the first day, then increase the time it’s outside each day by one or two hours. After six to ten days, the sapling should be acclimated enough to stay outside full time.

Plant your olive tree in a sunny spot (at least six to eight hours of sun daily) with fertile soil that drains well. If your soil is clay-heavy, add peat moss to it when you plant. Site your olive trees 20 feet apart from each other.

The planting hole should be bigger than the container. Tease out the tree’s roots if they are circling. Place the tree in the hole slightly higher than grade and backfill with peat-enhanced soil. Do not add fertilizer now. Water your new tree regularly until it’s established.

Don’t stake your tree unless it flops over — it’s better to prune back the unruly branches. Pull any weeds that come up within three feet of the trunk. Fabric mulch can help, but don’t let it touch the tree trunk itself.

Read More about Olive Trees Here

Little Known Facts About Olive Trees The average lifespan of an olive tree is 500 years  Olive trees tend to grow 20 to 30 feet tall and 15 to 25 feet wide. Depending on the variety, they take three to five years to start producing fruit.  During the first Olympic games in 776 B.C. in ancient Greece, olive wreaths were given as gifts to the winners of the athletic competitions.  People in the eastern Mediterranean have been grinding olives into oil for at least 6,000 years.  Today, olive oil has become a big business - olive oil brands generate over $380 million in annual sales in the U.S. alone. Olive oil is rich in a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid which reduces inflammation. Also, the antioxidants in olive oil can lower your risk for chronic diseases  Olive wood is known for its attractive dark veining - but given the small size of olive trees, this wood is relatively rare and expensive.  It's used to make kitchen utensils bowls, cutting boards and decorative turned objects. Birds often nest in olive trees. One species, the olive-tree warbler, is even named after the tree.
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