The answer to that question is that they are productive, long-lived trees that are valued by many for their attractive look and tolerance to extreme heat and drought conditions. It is estimated that the average lifespan of Olive trees is 500 years!

In recent years, olive trees have gained immense popularity in gardening and landscape design. With their elegant form, evergreen foliage, and the allure of Mediterranean beauty, olive trees can add a touch of sophistication to any garden or outdoor space. Still asking why they are worth it. Well…. They are super easy to manage with enough direct sunshine (but not too much) and some water. Other than that, they are extremely low maintenance.

In this blog, we will delve into the different varieties of olive trees, discuss how to plant, grow, prune, and maintain them, and address common issues and how to avoid them.

Varieties of Olive Trees

Within the olive tree family, there is a wide variety, each offering unique characteristics. The main variety of olive Trees available in Australia include:

  • ‘Arbequina’: This variety is known for its compact size and adaptability, making it suitable for smaller gardens or container cultivation.
  • ‘Koroneiki’: Considered one of the most productive olive tree varieties, ‘Koroneiki’ is prized for its high-quality oil and small fruit size.
  • ‘Manzanillo’: A popular choice for both table olives and oil production, this variety has large, flavourful fruits and a vigorous growth habit.
  • ‘Picual’: With its excellent oil quality and high yield potential, ‘Picual’ is one of the most widely planted olive tree varieties worldwide.
  • ‘Frantoio’: Originating from Italy, ‘Frantoio’ is highly regarded for its oil production, featuring a fruity and aromatic flavor profile.

How to plant, grow, and prune olive trees

The beautiful thing about Olive trees is they are one of the oldest cultivated trees in the world, making them a highly desirable option for garden lovers as they seek to be different, unique, and more exciting than a typical garden option.

How do you plant them? The best time to produce an olive tree is in spring after the danger of frost has passed, which is a major risk to the protection of these olive trees.

To plant them, dig a hole that is the same diameter as the root ball and slightly shallower so the top of the root is slightly above ground level. It would be best if you avoided the addition of compost or organic matter to the planting hole.

How to Fertilise Olive Trees

They can survive on nutrient-poor soils, provided they are well-drained; however, they will produce better fruit if planted in well-drained, fertile soil. You can fertilize these olive trees in early spring and late summer with a well-balanced fertilizer such as the Super-Grow Garden Fertiliser Concentrate from Hoselink.

Growing Olive Trees

A full-grown olive tree can reach 6m in height, but young Olive Trees can thrive in a pot. Make sure to use nutrient-rich potting mix in a large container. In taking care of the tree, top up the pot with fresh soil every couple of years and water lightly but regularly.

How to prune olive trees

To encourage and activate growth of the tree, prune out suckers and low branches during winter while also removing the tips of the stem that have grown too long. This process can be done using Hoselink’s lightweight Bamboo Garden Gloves. These do any work in the garden.

Benefits of having olive trees

There are a vast range of benefits to choosing to grow olive trees in your garden. They are becoming an extremely desirable choice for garden lovers around Australia and worldwide. This is due to the fact they are easy to manage, easy to care for, and easy to grow. They are also extremely attractive in a modern garden. Some key benefits of growing olive trees are;

  • Longevity: They can live for thousands of years and have a rich cultivated history. They have been around for over 2000 years.
  • Prolific: The olive trees start bearing fruit at around five years
  • Unbreakable: the durability of the root system of an olive tree is incredibly impressive. It is so robust that it’s capable of regenerating itself even if the frost or other severe climates have destroyed the roots.
  • Generous: the olive tree Produces about 180 KG of olives annually. Older and larger trees can produce even more.
  • Healthy: They are a healthy fruit that contains healthy fats, fiber & antioxidants.

Concerns around olive trees

While olive trees offer a ton of benefits and are a likable option for many, along with these positive aspects, there are a few concerns. These main concerns are:

  • Frost Damage: Protect young or newly planted olive trees from frost by using frost blankets or wraps during winter. Plant them in sheltered locations to minimize exposure to freezing temperatures.
  • Pest Control: Monitor olive trees regularly for pests like olive fruit flies and scale insects. Implement organic pest control methods, such as sticky traps or natural predators, to manage infestations and protect the fruit.
  • Disease Prevention: Take preventive measures against fungal diseases by ensuring proper air circulation through pruning and thinning branches. Avoid excessive moisture on leaves and fruit by watering at the base of the tree and providing adequate spacing between plants.

Main points Simplified

  • Location: Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil for planting olive trees. They require at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.
  • Soil Preparation: Amend the soil with organic matter and ensure it has good drainage. Olive trees prefer slightly alkaline soil with a pH between 6 and 8.
  • Planting Process: Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball and place the tree, making sure the bud union or graft point is above the soil surface. Backfill the hole and water thoroughly.

Growing Olive Trees

  • Watering: Olive trees are drought-tolerant once established but require regular watering during the first few years. Water deeply, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between watering.
  • Fertilization: Apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer in early spring. Avoid excessive nitrogen, as it can negatively affect fruit production.
  • Pruning: Prune olive trees during late winter or early spring to remove dead, damaged, or crossing branches. Maintain an open center structure to promote air circulation and sunlight penetration.

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