The olive tree is a historic Mediterranean native that, under the proper conditions, can live for up to 100 years. Unlike most fruit trees, the olive tree sets its flower buds during the winter months after periods of warm days and very cool nights. Still, temperatures of 17 degrees F and below will damage, if not kill, the tree.
Choose the olive tree for short-term fruit production when planting in Eastern, Central and Southern Texas, as the drastic winter-climate variations will greatly shorten the life of the tree. Allow up to five years for the first fruit production. Expect only ornamental growth from all other areas of Texas.
Select a planting location for the olive tree. Choose a well-drained location with nutrient-rich soil that receives at least 8 hours of full sunlight each day. Always select a soil location with pH levels between 5.5 and 8.5, common in most areas of Texas.
Plant the olive sapling in the selected area. Dig a hole that is equivalent to the width and depth of the tree's root system. Fill the hole with tepid water and allow the water to rest.
Position the hole in the center of the prepared hole. Fill the hole with the remaining soil so that the planting surface is slightly elevated from the surrounding area. Water the olive tree thoroughly to promote good establishment.
Keep the olive tree properly irrigated to maintain a moist, but not waterlogged, environment. Water the olive tree with approximately 1 to 1 ½ inches of water once each week. Always adjust the watering schedule for hot or rainy periods.
Train the olive tree to grow in canopy form. Prune the tree in the late fall. Remove any branches that are growing less than 36 to 48 inches from the planting surface. Thin out internal branches and stems to promote good circulation within the tree. Always remove any dead, dying or wilted branches and stems.
Feed the olive tree in early December and early spring to promote good bud development and new growth. Use a slow-release fertilizer with balanced levels of nitrogen, such as a 20-20-20 or 40-10-10 combination. Distribute the fertilizer evenly around the tree and water thoroughly.