Olives trees, adapted to a Mediterranean climate, may live over 2,000 years if conditions are right. The tree can become injured, however, when exposed to temperatures colder than 17 degrees F. A tree will die if temperatures drop to 12 degrees F. Because of this, Texas is one of the few areas where conditions are right for olive trees. Plant these trees in Texas from seedlings, grafted trees or rooted cuttings.
Select a sunny location for your olive tree in well-drained soil. Olive trees will tolerate rocky, clay, sandy or rich soil with pH ranging from 5.5 to 8.5, but they will rot in poorly drained soils. Keep the full-grown height in mind when selecting a location for your tree. Olive trees should not be planted near a house or electrical lines.
Time the planting for April after all danger of frost passes. This allows olive trees to develop a strong set of roots before winter arrives.
Dig a planting hole for your olive tree that is twice as wide as the tree’s roots. Place the root ball in the hole and cover with soil. Water well to dislodge any air pockets. Fill in the air pockets with more soil.
Mound up soil around the trunk of your tree to a height of 2½ feet. Keep soil mounded up to this height to protect against frost and cool temperatures until the tree reaches five years of age.
Check the soil weekly and water any time the soil feels dry. The soil should remain as damp as a wrung-out sponge. Olives are drought-tolerant so you can skip a watering session occasionally. Do not overwater as this can produce root rot.
Fertilize in December with a granulated nitrogen-based fertilizer (10-0-0) by spreading it around the roots.