Olive trees need Mediteranian climate like in Texas with warm and dry weather. They need heat and sunlight for 6-8 hours to bear and produce fruit, if the temperature is below 28OF the fruit will die.
Olive trees are evergreen, and they keep their leaves year round. The trees usually start producing fruits at three years of age; however, some trees might grow fruit at six years.
Giving the trees the right conditions can lead to heavy yields of fruit and healthy plant growth. Here is a full guide to olive trees and their growth.
Types of Olive Trees
The following are common types of olive trees that can thrive in dry and warm climates. The tree varieties at Texas Hill Country Olive Co farms include the Arbequina tree.
Mission is a self fruitful variety with large olives that are suited for both oil production and table olive use. A pollinator tree like Pendolino would be helpful for achieving heavier crop yield. Olive oil made from Mission has a robust profile and is generally considered high in polyphenols. This is a fast growing variety with long upright branches.
Arbequina trees are traditional producers of olive oil and their fruit is pickled black or green. They can grow 15 feet wide and 20 feet tall, fertilize themselves, and they produce fruit earlier in the harvest seasons.
An Italian variety mainly used for pollination. Fruit is medium sized and has an oblong shape. Fruit has a great flavor for oil production with notes of green almond. The tree is generally shorter than other varieties with a weeping growth habit.
Picual olive trees are Spanish-origin, self- and cross-pollinating, and fertile fruit producers. Their fruit ripens early in the season and needs early harvests. Picuals cross-pollinate with the Arbequina to produce richer olive varieties.
Growing Texas Olive Oil Trees
Olive trees are grown indoors in colder climates and outdoors in warmer climates. There are several key steps to planting, pruning, growing, and maintaining the trees.
- Smaller olive trees can be grown indoors and outdoors in pots. Potted trees need a large pot with drainage holes, gravel drainage potting mix, and a dry potting medium. The trees will need regular sunlight and daily watering, however, the soil should have dried between watering sessions.
- Olive trees need fertilizing in pots and in the ground. The grower should use a well balanced fertilizer to maintain their olive tree. Nitrogen, Potassium, and calcium are important nutrients for an olive. If deficiencies are evident in the leaves or fruit, it is important to have tissue samples tested. This way the grower can address the nutrient deficiency appropriately. Fertilization is best done every 2-4 weeks from March to September.
- A grower will need to choose a suitable site for the adult tree with well-drained soil, dry air, and adequate space for taller varieties like the Mission. Multiple trees in a Texas Hill Country Olive Co. orchard are spaced 15-20 feet apart.
- To plant the tree in the ground, the grower will need to dig a hole twice as big as the pot and trim the root ball of the tree before placing it inside the hole. Fill in the soil until it covers the roots, water generously, and pile on mulch around 2-3 inches above the roots.
- Water the trees twice a week and use drip irrigation systems to facilitate fruit production and tree growth. Avoid overwatering by allowing the tree to dry out between rains or waterings. Prune the trees in their second year to train the shape and mold the tree to have a central leader at its top with three key scaffold branches on its sides.
- Olive trees need pruning for fruit and Texas olive oil production since they do not produce fruit on the same branch two years in a row. Come springtime, the previous year’s shoots, suckers, and water spouts need removing to make way for the new shoots and fruits. The fruit is ready for harvest in the fall.
There are two major factors that determine olive tree growth and fruit production that need remembering.
It is important to plant olive trees at the right position. An elevated, high spot will have warmer air and pleasant conditions for the trees than a spot on lower grounds.
The warm conditions prevent and counter damage from frost. A higher position will efficiently prepare the tree for pruning and fertilization. Texas Hill Country Olive Co. is an ideal spot for elevated growth.
- Weather Conditions
Trees grown in pots should be moved indoors for hard frosts to protect them. After danger has passed they should be returned to full sun.
Trees grown outdoors should only be planted if the climate is optimal, the tree will die at temperatures below 15OF.
Benefits of Texas Olive Oil Trees
Olive trees are great additions to an orchard or garden. Here’s why:
The Tree is Resistant to Damage
Olive trees can live for long periods of time and have roots that are damage-resistant and resilient. They have adapted throughout the centuries to be drought-resilient and require infrequent watering.
The Tree Produce Fruits
Olive trees are sources of olives and olive oil. Both are healthy additions to meals and snacks in Mediterranean cuisine. Adult olive trees can produce 400 pounds of olives per year and can bear fruit for decades.
Problems in Olive Tree Growth
While the trees have numerous benefits, there can be drawbacks to owning and planting olive trees.
The trees need well-drained soil so overwatering and water-logging can cause root diseases such as Phytophthora root rot. Texas olive oil trees only need regular watering anytime the top two inches of the soil are dry. They can have a weekly watering schedule or a monthly deep watering schedule.
Olive tree owners need to look out for tell-tale signs of diseases and maintain plant health. One of the common diseases is the deadly honey fungus, a mushroom-like fungus that can sprout from the wood. Another disease is the olive scab recognizable from ring spots on the tree foliage.
Olive farms use industry best practices to grow vibrant, healthy olive trees. Seeds from the trees are available at Texas Hill Country Olive Co.’s stores for hobbyists and gardeners to propagate the trees in pots or in the ground.