Olive trees originated in the Mediterranean region and they date back to ancient civilizations. Sometime in the 1700s, olive trees first appeared in California. Because olive trees need a warm and extended growing season, certain regions of California are well-suited to growing olive trees. Gardeners in other regions may decide to try to grow ornamental olive trees and will be successful as long as their winters are mild.
Dig a hole for each olive tree that is approximately the same diameter and depth as the temporary container the olive tree is currently using.
Tap the sides of the temporary container and loosen the olive tree from the container. Look carefully at the root system of the olive tree. Untangle any roots that are twisted. Other than this adjustment, do not disturb the roots.
Place an olive tree in each prepared hole so that the crown of the tree is approximately 1 inch higher than the soil level. Fill soil in around the olive tree and mound extra soil around the crown to finish planting the olive tree.
Water the newly-planted olive tree generously immediately after planting. Provide water every day for the roots by saturating the soil area. Do not get the trunk, branches or leaves wet while watering.
Fertilize the olive tree by sprinkling 1 inch of compost over the soil around the base of each tree. Work the compost into the soil with a hand spade to add nutrients and drainage to the soil.
Stake the trees if they need support as they grow. Wait until the tree gives indications that they need additional support by flopping over. Some gardeners prefer not to stake olive trees because unstaked olive trees will have stronger trunks.
Prune sparingly during the first four years. Remove side branches that grow under the 3-foot line from the trunk by cutting them off. Remove suckers that grow up in the soil around the base. Shape the tree minimally, taking off only a few inches of the stems. Overzealous pruning can stunt the growth of an olive tree.