How to Take Care of Olive Trees


The European olive tree (Olea europaea), native to Mediterranean countries, is one of the oldest cultivated species of tree, valued for its fruit and oil, and venerated for its longevity and appealing, wizened looks. The trees flourish in hot, dry climates but can tolerate coastal conditions.

Step 1

Plant your olive trees in soil that drains well. The olive will grow in almost any soil conditions, including acidic, alkaline, stony or sandy soils, but they require good drainage.

Step 2

Plant the trees in full sun, where they can get at least six to eight hours of direct light daily.

Step 3

Water the trees once a week for their first year. Thereafter, olive trees require almost no supplemental watering, tolerating drought and extreme heat with equanimity.

Step 4

Prune heavily to encourage the tree to grow into the shape you want. For a clean, straight trunk, cut off the lower branches up to the point where you want the tree to start spreading out. If you want the tree to have several trunks, tie the lower branches or the suckers that come up from the base of the tree to stakes positioned at the angles you want the limbs to grow.

Things You'll Need

  • Olive tree seedlings
  • Shovel
  • Water


  • Olive (Olea europaea); Sunset Western Garden Book, 1996
  • Olive, European (Olea europaea); Arbor Day Foundation
  • U.S.D.A. Plant Hardiness Zone Map; United States National Arborteum
Keywords: European olive, Olea europaea, olive trees

About this Author

Cheyenne Cartwright has worked in publishing for more than 25 years. She has served as an editor for several large nonprofit institutions, and her writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including "Professional Bull Rider Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Oklahoma Christian University and a Master of Arts in English from the University of Tulsa.