How to Grow The Olive Trees, Care and Propagation

The olive well known also as “Zaitun” and has botanical name Olea europaea which means “European olive”. It is belongs to the family Oleaceae. Mediterranean Basin is place the olive found traditionally.

It is a plant native to the Middle East that grows in hot areas, olive trees can still grow in other tropical places. But with a note, it must get enough sunlight with temperatures above 77°F. Cultivation can be done in polybags and placed in a green house.

Parta Suhanda, an olive cultivator from Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, said that cultivating this Mediterranean plant is more difficult than other types of plants. From his experience, the mortality rate of this plant can reach more than 50% of the total cultivated.

The Olive Trees

If the weather is hot, the number of failed growth of the olive can be minimized compared to when the weather is rainy.  The growth of olive roots can be stimulates due to hot weather. Parta himself admitted that he got the mother olive tree from Australia. Cultivation of this plant is done by grafting the main branch of the olive tree.

Therefore, it must be given special care. Seedlings should be placed in polybags and then cultivated in a greenhouse. In addition, it should be watered frequently and get enough sunlight. And at least this plant is at an air temperature 77°F.

According to Parta, it takes two to three months to grow roots from the graft. Even though they grow roots, they are not numerous and are prone to fall back.

How to Care for Olive Trees

Choose a pot that is twice the size of the pot you were planted in so that the roots have room to grow and also have good drainage holes when you are going to plant your Olive Tree in a pot/container. Make sure you water the soil until it’s wet because container grown plants need more water than those grown in soil .

But if you’re planting trees in the ground, it’s best to do this in the spring, around April or May, so that all summer crops can be planted in the ground before winter arrives.

Dig a hole that is two times wider and deeper than the container in which it was planted, so that the olive tree’s roots have enough space to grow. Do watering about twice a week and you can apply mulch over the surface to help moisten the soil.

Where to Grow Olive Trees

The olive tree is in great demand because of its elegant structure and serene blue green leaves, it will look very beautiful as a potted plant or year-round tree in your yard. Well, if you are growing an Arbequina Tree, either in a pot or in the ground, you should place it in an area that gets 6 to 8 hours of direct afternoon sun per day. If you are growing this tree indoors, make sure the leaves don’t touch the windows, as the sun’s rays will increase and burn your leaves.

Then if you want to grow a Koroneiki Greek Tree, it can thrive in full or partial sun, the plant will look perfect if you have a limited amount of sun.

Olive Type: Arbequina

Growing Zone   : Indoors: 4-11; Outdoors: 8-11
Harvest            : October – November: 10 to 20 feet
Height              : 10 – 20 feet
Year to Bear     : First year or earlier
Annual Growth : 2 feet
Light               : Full Sun ( 6 – 8 hrs )
Characteristics : Produces soft extra virgin olive oil.

Olive Type: Greek Koroneiki

Growing Zone     : Indoors: 4-11; Outdoors: 8-11
Harvest              : Early October – January
Height               : 15 – 20 ft
Year of the Bear : First year
Annual Growth   : 2 ft
Light                 : Full/Partial Sun ( 4 – 8 hrs )
Characteristics    : This type of olive flower is creamy, fragrant and sometimes produces black and green olives.

How to Fertilize the Olive Tree

Feed your Olive with nitrogen and potassium for better crop result prior the spring. Or else you can use organic fertilizer.

How to Prune Olive Trees + Pollination

Depending of variety there are Self-pollinating and cross-pollination.

Self-Pollinating olive trees include:

  • Arbequina,
  • Koroneiki,
  • Fantoio,
  • Coratina,
  • Picual.

You can grow Arbequina olives and Greek Koroneiki olives because these types of plants are self-fertile, so you can get fruit without pollination. However, if you want to get abundant fruit, then you can cross-pollinate between Arbequina and Koroeiki.

Always make sure you use clean, sterilized pruning shears for trimming. You can remove dead, diseased, or damaged branches throughout the year. In addition, after fruiting, you can make cuts quite shallow and made at a 45 degree angle cuts made during the dormant season.

Propagation by Stem Cutting

After six months, including the three-month graft period, olive tree seedlings have a height of about 70 centimeters (cm) to 80 cm. With a note, when you are going to cut the stem the length of the branch used is about 50 cm. So the new shoots grow about 20 cm-30 cm.

Olive tree care when it’s past the grafting period is not difficult. In addition to heat, trees need to be watered once a day and given fertilizer occasionally.

Pest and Disease

When this plant is still young, it is usually susceptible to disease. Usually it attacks a type of hood lice or shield lice behind olive leaves. These lice are usually difficult to get rid of. Overcome it can be by trimming the leaves affected by lice so that they do not spread further.

And if you don’t treated the olive tree on time, it will cause problem of your olive flowering and pollination then may end up losing flower and fruits set.

So, if you are planning to grow the olive which is ready to plant in small areas/space. You can choose self-pollinating/self-fertile varieties to enjoy olive harvest in autumn. And if the olive tree is not self-fertile to gurantee a good fruitset, its recommended for growers to plant more than one cultivar.

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