How Do Olives Grow?


Quick Answer

Olives grow on evergreen trees. They are more prosperous in hotter climates with plenty of sun and sandy soils. Depending on when they are picked, olives can either be black or green.

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Full Answer

Location is everything when planting an olive tree. There needs to be well-drained soil and a great deal of sunlight. Lower elevations can provide better protection against frost. If elevation is too low, then water can collect in spots around the tree and eventually kill it. An area with a slight slope is an ideal spot for olive trees.

Olives tend to do very well in dry weather, but keeping them well watered helps to guarantee the fruit thrives. Pruning is a vital part in helping the olives flourish, and getting rid of dead limbs and some of the excess internal limbs allows more light to come through. Once the trees have started to blossom, they should bear fruit within 5 to 7 months.

Olives won't begin to fruit until after 3 or 4 years, but once they do, they continue to thrive for years to come. The time to harvest depends on whether one wants black or green olives. Obviously, green olives need to be picked while they are still green, but they should be firm and full. Getting black olives is just a matter of time and patience. When olives have turned black, the fruits should be harvested gently, since they are easily bruised at this stage of growth.

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