Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Water Olive Trees

olive verdi image by Marco from

Olive trees are native fruits to the Mediterranean region. These fruit trees can tolerate low levels of water, but do respond well to irrigation. In fact, the olive fruit tree will do better with a planned watering application than a fertilization program. While there are varying climates around the country in which the olive tree can grow, it is best to consult your local agricultural extension service. Your extension agent can provide you with a watering schedule for your particular species of olive tree.

Understand that each species of olive is different and may have various watering requirements. Large orchards of olives will benefit from the installation of a permanent irrigation system. In a small home orchard, you may be able to water a few trees with a basic garden hose.

Construct the irrigation system in such a way so all water can be controlled to the olive trees. In other words, depending on the size of the irrigation system, you will want to verify where the water goes and how much is applied through the control of shutoff valves.

Use circular drip irrigation hoops around each tree. Install a shutoff valve to each irrigation hoop. The overall diameter of the hoop should fall in between the distance of the tree’s trunk and the outer drip line of the overhead leaves.

Water the olive trees once a month. Use a deep-water practice in which the water is slowly emitted above ground and allowed to thoroughly soak in around the tree. Depending on soil type and quality, deep watering may take one to four days.

Monitor the amount of monthly rainfall. You do not want to over-water the olive fruit trees.


Some water-soluble fertilizers can be added through the irrigation system. Consult the extension service for the practicality of such an application.

Over-watering an olive tree may present more problems than keeping the plant on the dry side. Bacterial disease known as olive knot can be spread by pruning trees when they are excessively wet.

Garden Guides