How to Care for a Tuscan Olive Tree


Native to the Mediterranean, the evergreen Tuscan olive tree is an attractive accent tree, with feathery, grayish-green leaves and gnarled branches. It easily grows in the United States in regions that are warm and don't fall below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. There are some key things to remember when planting and growing a Tuscan olive tree to ensure the healthiest and most delicious harvest, such as choosing the ideal planting site, creating a watering cycle and pruning off crowded branches.

Step 1

Plant the tree in well-drained soil in full sun that is protected from strong winds. Since the tree has shallow roots, it can topple over if exposed to strong elements. Plant multiple trees at least 20 feet apart; make sure there is nothing within 50 feet above each tree, as these trees on average grow 30 to 50 feet tall. Keep in mind that the dropping olives will stain.

Step 2

Dig a planting hole with the shovel that is the size of the tree's container. Put the tree into the hole and back fill the soil so it is firmly over the root ball. Do not add any starter fertilizer or compost, as olive trees need to start in native soil in order to thrive.

Step 3

Water around the base of the olive tree deeply so the soil can settle. This way no air holes will settle around the roots. After the initial watering, water the tree only when the top couple inches of the soil are dry, but make sure you water deeply.

Step 4

Layer about 2 inches of mulch around the base of the tree, stretching about 2 feet outward.This will protect the roots, deter weeds and retain moisture.

Step 5

Continue to water your olive tree until the following spring. When you notice new growth, fertilize the tree with a high-nitrogen fertilizer, out to the drip line.

Step 6

Prune off any dead, broken or diseased branches on the tree with the pruning shears. In the dormant season, prune back any branches that are blocking sunlight or air circulation to the bottom branches of the tree, or any branches that are growing out awkwardly or into other branches. Remove suckers coming from the trunk, and any branches that grow out below 3 feet up from the trunk.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Mulch
  • Water
  • Commercial high-nitrogen fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Gardening gloves if desired


  • DeVero: Growing Olive Trees
  • California Rare Growers: Tuscan Olives
Keywords: olive tree care, Tuscan olive tree, growing olives

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.