like any tree, there's more than one way to plant an olive.
Over our past 21 years of planting, growing and researching about
olive trees we have observed and tested many such methods.
With these trials and research in mind we have concluded that
there is an optimum way to plant olive trees for maximum results.
Over the years, our customers have tried many methods with
varying degrees of success. However, one thing that has been clearly
displayed is that fully irrigated trees planted in good climates
and soils according to the steps below, grow approximately one
metre per year in both height and breadth, in their early
years. This is faster than any other natural methods we
here they are - the steps for planting a healthy, fast growing
olive orchard. You don't have to follow these steps but if you
do, the long term results will generally please you.
Roughly spread a level builders wheelbarrow full of well rotted
animal manure at each tree site. (12 trees per cubic metre).
Most animal manures are suitable as long as they are not too
fresh. Spread the manure over an area of 3m X 3m (7ft X 7ft),
so that it's not concentrated in one place.
Also spread one half to one builder's wheelbarrow full of blue-metal
rock crusher dust at each tree site (contains excellent minerals
which are not water soluble and are naturally available
to the tree roots as required - check with your local council
or quarries for your nearest source). Also spread this over the
3m X 3m area. (NB. One level barrow per tree = 12 trees/cubic
metre. One half barrow = 24 trees).
If your soil requires the addition of lime to bring it's pH level
to 7.0-8.0 (alkaline), then add the required amount to the
manure and crusher dust above. Contact your local Department
of Agriculture or fertilizer company if you need pH testing done
and lime quantities worked out.
Deep rip several times along the full length of the planting
row to a depth of 600mm (2ft) or more and a width of at
least 3 metres (10ft). The nutrients will be suitably mixed in
as they drop down the ripper grooves. You will end up with ten
to twelve deep rips spread across the 3 metre width of the row.
This preparation will give the roots an excellent start
and fast growth will result. You may wish to then level the
ripped area with a blade, rotary hoe or similar.
Plant the tree at the same depth as it was in the pot. Do
not disturb the roots when removing the pot. (NB. It is
a good idea to place your irrigation system between steps 4 and
Press soil down firmly around the tree roots and make a depression
to act as a watering basin.
Water thoroughly and mulch with coarse straw to conserve water,
cool the soil, and reduce weed growth. The best mulches
to use are those that contain plenty of nitrogen and other nutrients
to feed the tree. These include lucerne, soya bean and pea hay.
Keep the mulch 10-15cm (4"-6") away from the base
of the trunk to allow the tree to breathe. As the mulch decomposes
over a period of time the nutrients are transferred into
the soil by earthworms, rain and micro-organisms. If using mulch,
try to buy spoilt (rain damaged) bales, which are often available
for just one or two dollars.
If you are planting in an area with relatively long, cold,
wet winters and short warm summers, only mulch very lightly or
not at all. Too much mulch will conserve too much water.)
Continue your irrigation according to the OLIFAX - 5 Irrigation
sheet and general common sense. Be careful not to waterlog
as excess water is the olive tree's worst enemy.
Very young trees may need protection from severe frost and animals.
Further advice on these situations is readily available on this
site or from Australis Plants.