Olive Trees

T’was a beautiful sunny autumn day, so we all decided to get a bit of vitamin D in the orchard and performed a bit of fruit tree maintenance.

Of all the twelve fruit trees that I have planted in the front yard, all but two are growing well.  The two poor performers are a pair of dwarf cocktail pears.  Mind you, I haven’t really helped their cause, as the mulch was non-existent because all the local birds nicked it for their nests, and Kim insisted that I plant an agapanthus in the same bed which sucks all the water from the bed.

Here they are, and you will have to look hard they are like sticks.  They were both heavily attacked by cherry and pear slug and have struggled all year long.  It was time to dig them up, re-pot them and give them a little tender loving care.

I had a couple of well cared for olive trees in pots that were just screaming to be put in the ground, so this was the tree of choice to replace the olives.  Ben popped the pear trees in a bucket with some water to keep them going until I replant them tomorrow.

The ground was rock hard clay, and I had to resort to bashing the crap out of it with a mattock to loosen the soil.  After a big soak of water, I managed to get it down about 4 feet.

Here is one of the olive trees before being replanted.  I placed a liberal few handfuls of worm castings in the bottom of the hole and sprinkled some more around the top of the root ball before backfilling with soil.

Here is the replanted olive tree with a little moat.  I will heavily mulch it tomorrow.

Meanwhile, by the pool, the sun dogs were all pooped out from running around the front yard, and needed a rest.  Are we keeping you awake Teddy?

Then it was a case of repeat the process and get the second olive tree in the ground.  This hole was harder because it was riddled with dead tree roots from the old gum tree we had removed two years ago.  The mattock was required again to remove them so I could dig deeper.  Once in the ground, it was time for the obligatory proud bloke photo!

Now I lost the tags for these olives long ago, so only know that these olives grow big and are for eating.  One day I will remember to write down the variety when I buy them!

After I planted the two trees, it was time to weed the paths and some of the garden beds.  Ben was not impressed with the work, and complained for a while until I pitched in and gave him a hand.  After that it was quite pleasurable weeding with Ben as he is quite a funny lad especially when he found a huntsman spider near the cherry tree 😉

The it was lunch and time for a rest.  After the break, I grabbed my garden clippers and a book about pruning fruit trees and headed back into the orchard.  With a fair bit of confidence, I pruned back each of the deciduous fruit trees, and even tackled the peach and apple trees near the cob clay oven.  In the end the wheelbarrow was full to the brim, which I will mulch tomorrow and spread around the new olives!

Now I have three olive trees in the ground, once they get a bit larger, I should be self-sufficient in this delicious fruit.  Lucky that I know how to cure olives, and can’t wait to cure my own.

Does anyone else have some olive trees in their back yard?  Do they produce well?


  1. Anonymous says

    I have 120 olive trees, 1st year, they have some bugs that look like baby stink bugs. They get knocked off and they come back. Do you know what these bugs are and what organic substance would get rid of them?

  2. Anonymous says

    I want to plant an Olive tree in a very large pot but don’t know what the name of the tree that produces green olives?? any ideas
    cheers Trevor

  3. Anonymous says

    We have to young olive trees in our backyard. They had a couple of olives each this year, so hoping to have more next year. I have booked marked your olive preserving post in anticipation.


  4. Dawn says

    As far as I know, olives won’t grow in my part of the world (Pacific Northwest) – perhaps in a greenhouse or something, but not outside – it’s just too cool and damp most of the year. We had fresh olives for the first time ever in Italy and Greece last year, and it’s been very hard going back to the kind that come in jars…so we’re very envious of your orchard, Gavin!

  5. says

    We planted 2 olive trees about 2 years ago here on Lake Macquarie. They look very happy even though they were neglected when we were building an extension. No fruit yet.

  6. says

    We have three trees of different types but we have only had one good crop from one of the trees last year. I preserved a lot of those and they were sooooo good. This year the crop has been almost non-existant but I’m expecting a good crop on at least two of the tree next year. The two neighbours trees produce have produced very well for the last few years.

    If you go along Maribynong road in Ascot Vale (not far from the Melbourne show grounds) you will notice that all the street trees are olive trees and they produce copious quantites of fruit, which the locals harvest. Not bad for an inner suburb.

    • says

      I had them in full sun, and watered weekly in very large pots. I fertilised with blood and bone each season. As they were only two years old, they are yet to fruit.


  7. says

    We have an olive tree in a large pot. The plan is to transplant it later. We have had olives the last couple of years and, despite netting it, the birds have had every last one! It’s the same for my friend. So be aware that birds love olives too!

  8. says

    We have 5 Frantoio (oil) trees screening our (large) shed, we thought we’d plant something productive rather than pittosporums that everyone else plants for screening. We planted them a bit before black Saturday (3 years ago), and they all survived, and are about 3 metres tall now, after starting out as little sticks about 30cm tall. One of them had a handful of olives on it this year. We’re hoping that, come apocalypse, that someone will have oil pressing equipment, as it seems pretty labour intensive to press it yourself!

  9. says

    We have one olive tree that produces well every second year. It seems to be the thing with olive trees that you get a small crop then the next season you get a humongous crop. We tried to salt 2 big buckets full last year but I forgot to change the water for 2 days and the result was a big mouldy mess. Next year I will have another go.Goats love olive trees…. if they are sick they always eat the wild african olives here on the farm.

  10. says

    Sadly, we lost our olive tree this winter – so darned cold! We planted it 10 years when we first moved to France from England, and now it’s just a brown sticky thing! I have got a lilac cutting coming along, ready to plant out but it’s not the same…

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