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How to Plant a Russian Olive Tree

By Kelly Shetsky ; Updated September 21, 2017

The Russian Olive tree is native to Western Asia and Southeastern Europe. It is small compared to most shrubs and trees, growing up to 30 feet tall. It has thorns and leaves that are rusty or silvery in color. Once they turn three years old, Russian Olive trees start to grow flowers in June, which are replaced by fruit clusters. Plant a Russian Olive tree to add interest to your landscape.

Pick a Russian Olive tree that has a straight trunk and an even amount of branches. Do not buy trees with bark or leaf damage including browning, scars or scratches.

Choose a planting location in the full sun, with well-draining soil. The more lightweight the soil the better. If your location has heavy clay soil, mix in peat moss or sand to make it drain better.

Dig a hole about four times the width and the same depth as the Russian Olive tree's root ball.

Put a small amount of the removed dirt in the bottom of the planting hole. Place the tree in the center of the hole, spreading out the roots by hand. Adjust if necessary so that the top of the roots sit at ground level.

Fill the hole halfway with soil. Add water to the hole so you can pack down the soil, eliminating air pockets.

Continue filling in around the roots until the hole is full. Tamp down on the dirt as you shovel it in to get rid of air and help the Russian Olive tree stand up straight.

Water the tree thoroughly after planting. Russian Olive trees can tolerate drought well, so you can let it dry out between waterings after the initial soaking.



  • Russian olive trees do the best in sandy soils.

About the Author


Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.