Land Preparation




Olives Agencies Information Services


Just 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 have seen.

So 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.

1. 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.

2. 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).

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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 5.)

6. Press soil down firmly around the tree roots and make a depression to act as a watering basin.

7. 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.

(NB. 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.)

8. 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.

NB. 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.