How to Plant an Olive Tree Step by Step: [Complete Guide + Images]

Important points when it comes to Planting Olives:
  • When? In Autumn or Spring. 
  • Where? It requires between 8 and 12 hours a day of light. It grows very well in Mediterranean climates. They do not endurecold weather muchand they endure high temperatures.
  • Growing time? In 5 years it can grow to a meter and a half and bear fruit. It will maximize production when it reaches 20-25 years of life. Although all this depends on the nutrients and irrigation you have received.
  • How do we prepare the land ? It adapts very well to all types of soils, even rocky and sandy ones. It is also resistant to limestone soils and salinity, although they are not recommended.
  • How do we water? Ideal drip irrigation . It does not require a lot of water, but we must avoid puddles.
  • From seed? You can use olives harvested directly from the tree or purchased from a garden store. Olives bought from the supermarket will not work because they have already been treated for consumption and the processes have probably killed the seed.
  • When to do the transplant?  Preferably transplant in the fall. On a cool, windless day. When the seed has germinated and has been growing in the pot for several months.
  • How is it harvested? The olive tree is an alternating species, which means that an abundant harvest precedes another with little flowering. This can be avoided or at least reduced if you read this article.
  • Plagues and diseases? Olive spider, olive fly, wood caries, repilo.

 The olive or olive is an essential food in Mediterranean diets due to its high nutritional value , as well as its cultural and economic importance , since its fruits olive oil is extracted. 

Today, the olive tree is one of the most cultivated trees in the world . And although its cultivation is simple, there are certain essential requirements for its cultivation to be successful.

In this article we tell you  what is the most efficient way to sow it. 

When should an olive tree be planted?

The best time to plant olive trees is  in the fall or in the spring when there is no risk of frost.

Where to plant an olive tree?

It develops very well in Mediterranean climates , where winters are not very cold and high temperatures are obtained in summer . Therefore, it is not very cold tolerant. 

The lighting conditions must be total , so it is best to arrange it in an open field , away from any obstacle that may cause shade. They need between 8 and 12 hours of light  solar in the day.

The deficiency of light reduces the formation of flowers or induces that these are not viable.

Its optimum growth temperature varies between 18 and 22 ºC during flowering and fruit formation.

Does not tolerate temperatures below -10 ° C . Frost, in fact, can damage the development of the fruit .

It is important to take care of it during the blooming of dry winds and very high temperatures.

How often should olive trees be watered?

It is very resistant to drought and, in extreme cases, the production of male flowers is induced.

If you plant it indoors , it is recommended to maintain relative humidity in the room, using humidifiers or frequent spraying of the leaves, so as to imitate the natural humidity that the tree loses when it is not outdoors.

The soil should be watered when the surface layers, the first 5 cm , feel moderately dry to the touch. Great care must be taken not to generate puddles.

How do we prepare the land?

It adapts very well to all types of soils, even rocky and sandy ones. 

It is also resistant to limestone soils and salinity , although they are not recommended.

The soil, however, must be very fertile and deep to allow proper root development and proper anchoring . In addition, a soil with a balanced proportion of coarse and fine elements is recommended to guarantee good aeration and facilitate the passage of water.

Drainage is essential as  they do not tolerate puddles. 

The olive tree requires a soil with a balance  of the pH between 5.0 and 7.5 

  • To know more: How to fertilize an olive tree

How to plant olive tree step by step

Collect the seed

The best way to grow olive trees is to germinate the seed before planting. You can use olives harvested directly from the tree or purchased from a garden store.

 Olives bought from the supermarket will not work because they have already been treated for consumption and the processes have probably killed the seed.

Gently tap the olives to loosen the stone that is preserved inside. Then col ócalas in warm water and let them soak overnight , stirring the water every 3 hours to help the fruit to release more.

Those that float will not be viable. You can remove them from the bucket of water and throw them away.

Prepare the seed

Take out those pits that are viable. You can use a sponge to remove the excess peel. Finally, rinse them off with lukewarm water.

Now, make a slight cut in the rounded end of the stone . The cut should not be very deep, just a small hole the size of the tip of a pen.

You must be careful not to break the seed , as it will be useless . Also, make sure it is the round end of the seed , not the one that ends in a point.

Sow the seeds in a pot

Get  a pot of at least 15 centimeters and fill it with a good soil mix , making sure it has good drainage.

You can fill it with 1 part coarse sand and 1 part seed compost .

Add a little water to keep the soil mixture moist, but not muddy. It is not necessary to use fertilizer, although if you think it is necessary, you can use mulch to give the seeds more nutrients.

Put the seed in the ground, but don’t bury it completely. Only ¾ parts of the seed should remain underground.

Don’t plant more than one seed per pot.

Keep the soil moist and place the pot in a well-lit and warm place, but avoiding direct sunlight.

Conserves moisture

Place a plastic bag over the pot to help retain moisture.

 Germination will occur after three weeks.  Once you notice the first sprouts, remove the bag.

Try to water the pot whenever you see that the surface layers dry out. Avoid puddles.

When the plant reaches more than 40 centimeters in height, it is ready for transplantation.

Clear the ground

It removes weeds and remains of previous crops and all kinds of residues to ensure that your olive tree receives the right amount of nutrients.

All plants must be pulled from the roots to prevent them from growing again.

Prepare the ground

Dampen the soil before planting the olive tree.

Fertilize the soil. Spread a 1-inch layer of compost over the soil.

Transplant your shoots

Preferably transplant in the fall . On a cool, windless day. If the ground is frozen, very soggy, or too dry , The transplant should not be carried out. 

Dig a hole large and deep enough for your tree’s root ball to grow loosely and roots to develop. The measurement may vary depending on the size of your tree, but it should be at least twice the size of the root ball.

When planting, check that no roots are left out of the hole. Fill in the hole. Make sure that the root neck – where the stem begins – is not buried , but at ground level. Tamp down the soil to compact it and eliminate air pockets.

Keep in mind that it will take between 3 and 12 years for the trees to start bearing fruit, so we recommend a lot of patience.

To know more, you can see: Olive cuttings .

Occasionally prune the plants

Throughout the life cycle of the olive tree, we will remove the leaves in poor condition. Pruning also ensures that the light reaches the center of the tree and the leaves have good ventilation.

Trim it from time to time, only if absolutely necessary. In this sense, olive trees do not grow quickly, so pruning may not be necessary.

 You don’t prune the trees for the first three years,  since pruning can stunt the growth of young trees.

How to harvest olive tree

The olive tree is an alternating species , which means that an abundant harvest precedes another with little flowering.

To avoid this, we can:

  • Reduce the fruit population by pruning the year before the one that is presumed to have a high production.
  • Intense thinning of freshly set fruits.
  • Early harvest.

How long does it take for an olive tree to grow?

The time is variable, and depends a lot on the particular conditions of the olive tree (nutrients, irrigation, soil, temperature, etc).

However, we can set as 5 years for it to bear the first fruits. After 20-25 years the olive tree will maximize its production and will be fully adult.

Olive tree pests and diseases

For pests that affect the olive tree, applying copper oxychloride can be an effective and ecological solution. Even if it is convenient not to go over with this fungicide because it is very toxic.

Some of the most common pests and diseases that affect the olive tree are:

Olive spider mite (liothrips oleae)

It is controlled, when there are low populations, by removing the individuals manually and squashing them.

For the control of denser populations, neem oil can be applied , which is highly effective.

Olive fly (dacus oleae)

It is the insect that causes the greatest damage in olive groves.

High summer temperatures , reduced atmospheric activity , as well as the action of natural enemies, limit its development.

Neem oil can be applied , which is highly effective.

Repilo (cycloconium oleaginum)

The presence of the fungus on the leaf is recognized by a dark spot with a yellow halo. Diseased leaves fall, limiting flower formation.

To prevent it, it is recommended to install a drip irrigation system and apply horsetail . As well as promoting good ventilation of the plants.

Wood caries

These fungi penetrate the trunk and branches through the wounds , causing the death of the bark.

For its control , applications with a Bordelés Broth brush are recommended .  A debarking may be done to increase the effectiveness of the treatment.

To learn more, you can see: Olive tree diseases .

Where can I buy this tree?

We always recommend you go to a nursery in the town where you live. In this way you can be advised by professionals.

In the event that you don’t have one, you can also buy an olive tree on Amazon:

Natural olive tree 38 cm prebonsai in pot of 16 cm diameter delivered in a gift box with triptych with information and care guide – Outdoor plant – Olea Europaea
Bloom Green Co. Promotion! 15 Pcs Rare Olive Tree Olive Bonsai (Olea Europaea) Mini Tree Plant for Home Garden Supplies, Exotic Flower Pots Planters: 11
Botanicly Houseplant – Olive Tree – Height: 90 cm – Olea Europeae
Bonsai miniature OLIVE TREE – LIVING PLANT in 14cm pot

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