Why Does Your Yard Need Olive Trees?
Picking the right plants for your yard is a crucial element in not only how you choose to design it, but also, how sustainable and easy to maintain it will be! Nowadays it’s becoming increasingly important to design a yard with sustainability in mind. Drought-tolerant plants are increasing in popularity due to their low-maintenance nature and their ability to resist harsh weather conditions and require little watering but despite this popularity, one drought-tolerant plant is extremely overlooked, the Olive Tree.
Olive trees have been cultivated for over 6000 years which is why we need to learn from our ancestors and stop overlooking these majestic trees.
Olives are not just a delicious pizza topping, or a healthy oil to add flavor to your dishes! Olive trees to be more exact can play a crucial role in not only making your yard beautiful and packed full of nutrients but also sustainable and easy to maintain!
In this guide, I will not only be discussing the benefits of adding olive trees to your yard but also how to care for them to ensure they thrive and fruit.
The Benefits Of Planting Olive Trees
Olive trees have been around since the beginning of time, they were seen as a symbol of wisdom, a peace offering, and olive branches were offered as a prize for the winners of the ancient Olympic Games. The ancient Greeks knew the significance and benefit of olive trees which is why should learn from their wisdom and adapt it to modern-day times thousands of years later!
1. Olive Trees Are Very Durable
Olive trees can live and thrive for thousands of years, it has been scientifically proven that many olive trees in the Mediterranean region are as old as 2000 years! Olive trees are also virtually indestructible and can survive in even the harshest conditions! The roots of an olive tree are so sturdy and vigorous that they can regenerate themselves even in the event of fires, frost, and even if the plant catches a disease!
2. They Produce An Abundance Of Fruit
Olive trees begin to fruit at around 5 years of age and continue to fruit for many years to follow, it was even proven that a 1,600-year-old tree in Croatia still bears an abundance of fruit today! You can harvest around 400 pounds of olives per year from large olive trees, and depending on the age of the tree, older ones can produce even more than that. There are many uses for the olive fruit, not only is it a delicious addition to any dish but you can also make it into homemade olive oil which has a variety of benefits.
Olive oil is not only used for healthier cooking, but it is also a great organic alternative to hair rejuvenating products and skin care products
Consuming olives also contains many health benefits, they are packed full of antioxidants, healthy fats, and fiber which makes for a very healthy balanced diet. Don’t forget you can even make delicious olive martinis, shaken, not stirred.
3. Olive Trees are Drought-Tolerant
Planting drought-tolerant plants in your garden have a variety of benefits which is why olive trees are the perfect option for a drought-tolerant yard. Due to their nature olive trees are very easy to maintain and do not need to be watered often. Even if you are located in some of the hotter states, olive trees will thrive in your yard, and you can keep your water bills down due to their ability to thrive off very little water.
They Give life And Color Year-Round
One amazing benefit of olive trees is that they are evergreen and do not undergo dramatic changes during the spring and fall as most trees do. The cold winter wind can blow away other leaves, but olive trees remain green and lush which adds color and texture to your yard throughout the whole year!
They Purify The Air
Olive trees are also great for the environment as they purify the air from toxic carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gases and turn them into oxygen which makes the air in your surrounding environment much cleaner and healthier to breathe in.
How To Care For Your Olive Trees
If you are located in a naturally Mediterranean climate like Southern California, your yards are the perfect condition for growing olive trees as they are already acclimatized to your local weather conditions. Don’t worry if you are not as long as you follow these steps on how to grow and care for your olive trees they will thrive under any conditions!
1. How to Plant Your Olive Trees
The springtime is the peak time for planting your seedlings, too much heat or cold could be damaging for newly planted trees, the frost during their first winter could be very damaging, and overheating could cause the seedlings dehydration. They require plenty of sunlight so make sure to plant them in an area in your yard that receives direct sun for up to 8 hours a day. Make sure to avoid planting them in areas in your yard that are susceptible to water accumulation as olive trees do not survive waterlogged soil.
When planting your olive tree seedlings dig a hole that allows the top of your tree’s root to slightly sit above ground level, it’s important to note that adding compost to your soil will only harm your newly planted trees as they need to be able to fully adapt to your soil conditions to ensure sturdy and indestructible roots. Make sure to plant them in soil that is not heavily clay based to avoid trapping moisture and rotting your roots. Olive trees are mostly self-pollinating but if you want them to yield more fruit try planting another fruiting tree close by for cross-pollination to take place.
2. How To Care For And Prune Your Olive Trees
Once your olive trees are fully established, they are extremely drought-tolerant and can go for very long periods of time without watering, however, during their growing phase, it is important to note that regular watering is important in the early growth phases.
During the spring and summer seasons, freshly planted olive trees need watering two to three times a week, you can use a drip irrigation system for this or just hose them down. If your olive trees are established and over 5 years old just remember to water them every few weeks.
During the autumn and winter seasons, you can rely on rainfall and completely cut back on watering your olive trees altogether. Fertilizers can be detrimental to the growth and fruiting of your olive trees so rather than adding fertilizers to your soil use mulch to trap moisture and prevent weeds from growing around your trees.
One of the most important elements to watch out for when caring for your olive trees is pruning. Your olive trees will have a great response to pruning and it will help them grow and thrive. For those of you who are unfamiliar with pruning, it is a method that is used to improve the fruit production of a tree as well as make them look nicer by removing damaged, dead, or diseased parts of the plant. Pruning will yield a much better olive fruit harvest as it allows nutrients to travel to the whole tree rather than focus on battling damaged areas.
Younger olive trees do not fruit as well as established ones so wait until your tree is over 5 years old before you start harvesting them, you may harvest them when they are still green or a fully ripened deep purple depending on how you enjoy them and what you want to use them for. Just remember to cure them before eating by sun drying or brining as they can be extremely bitter when freshly picked. Once your olive trees are established and bear fruit you need to start watching out for olive fruit flies! They are pesky threats that can completely damage your olive fruits by laying eggs under their skin.
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