The Care and Feeding of Olive Trees

Montenegro Adventures 2006 - CSTI

Sunlight and placement

Olive trees require an ample amount of sunlight and soil that’s well-drained. Though the trees need regular watering to live and grow, avoid planting them in soil with too much or standing water and places that tend to flood. Sunlight is also extremely important in caring for your Olive tree. The planting site chosen should receive at least six hours of full sunlight per day.


Some Olive trees require staking, and if so it should already contain a stake in its pot. When the trunk of your tree reaches about 1.25 inches in diameter, the stake is no longer required. Until that point, try to use a stake that’s big enough to support the trunk and stand it upright. It’s important not to use foreign objects including wires and cables when securing your tree.


The best fertilizer to use on your olive tree is a good nutritional regimen for olive trees do not need any special fertilization. The planting date of your olive tree is also very important. If planted after middle August but before the 1st of March, you should wait until spring to fertilize your plant. When picking fertilizer, keep in mind that although liquid fertilizers are fine to use, they require constant use when fertilizing your tree.  Avoid heavy use of fertilizer for it can cause damage to your tree. When planting your tree avoid using wood chips as mulch, for it holds too much water. Pine straw is what’s preferred when planting your tree, just spread it a reasonable distance away from the trunk to prevent rot.

Pruning & Pests

In order to produce fruit, the Olive tree doesn’t require any pruning. The only pruning they might ever require is when the tree reaches about fifty years of age. If fruiting isn’t something you desire, feel free to shape your Olive tree in any way you like. Olive trees don’t attract many pests, but the only ones known to attack the tree are called armored scale insects, more commonly known as bag worms. The insects do not move once attached to the tree, they lay dormant.  Once your tree begins to age, keep an eye out for sooty mold on leaves and bark as well as ants on your tree for these can be signs of the insect intruders. If you have these pests some can be removed by hand but others may require a call to your local insect control for assistance.