How to Care for Olives


Olive trees are very rich in history as they've been grown for thousands of years since originating in Crete, Israel and Lebanon). Olives are fairly simple to maintain on the tree, which requires only a moderate amount of water and full sunlight. With the average height of the olive tree as tall as 50 feet, the tree can be a scenic addition to a yard or garden. The tree must be monitored and cared for to ensure the proper growth of ripe olives within the first four years after planting.

Step 1

Water olive tree when the soil is dry. Use enough water to reach the deep roots--at least 1 foot deep in the first year, increasing depth by about a foot a year until the olives bloom in about the fourth year.

Step 2

Spread fertilizer around the tree at the beginning of each season. Use slow-release fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. A recommended fertilizer to use is 17-6-10.

Step 3

Remove any suckers--secondary shoots produced from the roots of the tree--using gardening shears. Never prune any other parts of the tree during the first four years of growth.

Step 4

Prune the lower limbs of the tree after the olives have started to grow. Clip any limbs that are touching, using shears. After pruning, clean shears alcohol before use them again to prevent spreading any disease.

Step 5

Protect your yard protected by a surrounding fence to prevent deer from feasting on your olives. Pick your olives as soon as they are ripe. Rake up and remove any diseased leaves, branches or fruit to help prevent insects from feeding on your olives as well.

Things You'll Need

  • 17-6-10 fertilizer
  • Shears


  • General Olive Tree Care
  • Caring for Your Olive Trees
  • Olive
Keywords: care for olives, olive tree maintenance, olive tree growth

About this Author

Greg Lindberg is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in creative writing. His professional writing experience includes three years of technical writing for an agriculture IT department and a major pharmaceutical company, as well as four years as staff writer for a music and film webzine.