Smart & Sustainable, Green Garden Design, Coaching & Seasonal Maintenance

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Olive Trees for the Sacramento Valley

Olea europaea, Olive Tree
Origin: Mediterranean
Character: mounding rounded head, usually multi-trunked. Natural form has branches to the ground. Billowy look, not real open.
Growth Habit/Size: moderate,  grows to 30' x 30'. Olives can live 1000+ years and will have buttressed trunks with age.
Uses: accent, specimen tree, utility (olives). Give a sense of place to the California landscape.
Leaf & Flower Description: foliage is opposite along branches, elliptical to linear in form. The dark glossy green or grayish and tomentose leaves are approx. 2 - 3" x 1/2". Leaf margins cup downwards. Small, whitish flowers in the spring become the olive fruit in the fall.
Environmental Preferences: hardy, take heat, aridity, and drought to regular water. Tolerates rather than prefers a residential environment.
Cold Hardiness: hardy, Sunset zones 8-9, 11-24  
Pests/Diseases: scale, thrips
Propagation: tip cuttings
Comments: Fair Oaks, Placerville, Orangevale and Carmichael at one time were heavy olive producers, so they are often found in local landscapes. Can be a definite mess with seed drop which can also stain. Can be treated to reduce flowering, but this is not 100% effective. Treat when you see bees pollinating the flowers.There are also varieties that are (nearly) fruitless, such as, Swan Hill, Majestic Beauty, Wilsoni and Little Ollie. Field-dug mature trees are available for landscapes that require an established look immediately.
A Word About Olives: olives are bitter and inedible straight from the tree and need to be either water-cured or lye-cured (instructions courtesy of the Boorinakis-Harper Ranch in Auburn). To learn more about the science and industry of olives, visit the UC Davis Olive Center.

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help!
Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email

No comments:

Post a Comment