How to Plant an Olive Tree


The olive tree has been grown for thousands of years, making it one of the oldest known cultivated crops known to man. They are extremely long-living trees with a life expectancy of 500 years. Olive trees prefer long, hot summers and will suffer damage if planted in areas where winter temperatures fall below 12 degrees F. Before planting an olive tree, take into consideration that they can pose a problem with litter. Keep the tree at least 25 feet away from walk-ways, driveways or fountains.

Step 1

Find a suitable sun-filled planting area in your garden for the olive tree.

Step 2

Till the area using a rototiller, a shovel or a garden fork to a depth of between 14 and 18 inches. Pick out all rocks, sticks, clods of dirt or rocks from the area as you proceed.

Step 3

Water the container-grown olive tree throughly before planting. This will help make transplanting easier and prevent any unnecessary root disturbance.

Step 4

Dig a planting hole for the olive tree that is about the same depth of the container and about twice its width. If you decide you want to plant several olive trees, each planting hole needs to be approximately 20 feet apart.

Step 5

Cut along the side of the container, starting at the rim, or drain-hole using a stout pair of all-purpose snips. Do this around the entire container until the olive tree can be easily removed from its container.

Step 6

Inspect the root ball of the olive tree for any encircled or matted roots. If there are any, carefully untangle them using your fingers.

Step 7

Pour water to fill the planting hole 3/4 full with water, letting it drain away before proceeding.

Step 8

Place the olive tree into the planting hole, adjusting the soil level so the root ball sits slightly above the adjacent garden soil. Fill in around the roots with the removed soil, securing the tree. Use soil to create a mound around the tree's roots, covering the root ball with approximately 1 inch of soil.

Step 9

Lay out a 3- to 4-inch layer of lucerne or pea hay for mulch around the olive tree to keep moisture in. Keep it 3 or 4 inches away from the tree trunk.

Things You'll Need

  • Olive tree
  • Rototiller, shovel or garden fork
  • Multi-purpose snips
  • Mulch


  • University of California at Davis: Planting Olive trees
  • California Rare Fruit Growers: Olive Trees
Keywords: planting olive trees, olive tree planting, planting olea europaea

About this Author

Katelyn Lynn is a certified holistic health practitioner who specializes in orthomolecular medicine and preventative modalities. She also has extensive experience in botany and horticulture. Lynn has been writing articles for various websites relating to health and wellness since 2007. She has been published on She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in alternative medicine from Everglades University.