Olive Trees

Australia Felix Permaculture pcorgbgo at bendigo.net.au
Wed Sep 20 17:15:54 EDT 2000

Hello Everyone,

Please find following some information gleaned from the Olives Australia
website regarding olive climate determination. You should consult with
someone like Julian Archer at Olives Australia (oliveaus at ozemail.com.au) as
he will have more information on the suitability of a climate to olive
production. You will have to substitute July for your coldest month for
Norhter Hemisphere sites.

"2. Does the property have an average daily temperature during July of 12
degrees Celsius or less? Yes No

A theoretical example of this would be a property where every day in July
went from 0 degrees overnight to 24 degrees at noon. The average between the
minimum (0 degrees) and the maximum (24 degrees) is 12 degrees. This
property would be at what is currently considered the warmest end of the
suitable temperature scale. Another property may have average July
temperatures ranging from minus 3 degrees to 19 degrees thereby giving a
suitable July average of 8 degrees. If your property has regular cold
periods lower than minus 6 each year, then you will need to read a copy of
OLIFAX - 2 which outlines the suitable cold tolerant varieties.

Olive trees will grow vigorously in areas with warm winters. However, in lay
terms, the problem occurs that due to the warmth, the tree doesn't realise
that it is winter and it continues to grow well. When spring arrives, the
tree has not rested and doesn't realise that it is time to flower, nor does
it have enough reserve nutrients available. No flowers equals no fruit and
this makes it unviable for commercial production.

Even though good crops have been observed on some varieties of trees where
the July average is above 12 degrees Celsius, there is not enough data
available to recommend planting commercial olive groves at these
temperatures. The National Warm Winter Research Grove recently planted by
Olives Australia will identify further varieties for such regions (the July
average is 13.1 degrees Celsius).

If you are not sure about the figures for your property, ask the local
farmers who have land at similar altitudes in the area. Climatic data from
the Bureau of Meteorology will also give you a general idea for your total
region but may not be 100% correct for your specific property. There are
often areas within weather map regions that differ significantly from the
map data thereby making your property either suitable or unsuitable for
commercial olive production."

Olives Australia Website http://www.oliveaustralia.aust.com

We have planted about 20 000 odd olives over the last few years many of
which have gone into sites that have an average July temperature of 6-10
degrees celcius where losses have been minimal - even under light snow. The
problem I suspect with Tennessee is the high summer humidity and rainfall to
reinterate Olives Australia's site. Manzanillo and some of the Isreali
varieties (Barnea) may have success in those climates. In these colder
climates (of Australia and Tasmania) we been using the following varieties
with success in high frost and some snow:

Frantoio (Paragon)
Nevadillo Blanco

I have seen literature and pictures that shows northern Italian groves of
the Frantoio variety where they are totally snowed in and survived. From a
frost perspective it would appear that olives are a lot hardier than some
literature would suggest. This year we planted a grove of 14 hectares in
June, which was followed by severe daily frosts with no mortalities. We used
our Easygrow guards and mulched the tree with pea straw (planted on mounds).
We are also infill planting with Acacia retinodes (wirilda) and Cytisus
palmensis (tagasaste) to provide more short term seed production (income)
and all important diversity to the stand. Interow areas are also being sown
to lucerne, chicory, clover etc. to provide N yields and to provide a
sustainable mulch crop for the olives (using a side throw slasher to deliver
cut sward onto mounded olives).

Hope this helps,

Yours and Growing,

Darren J. Doherty
All Your Land Needs

More information about the permaculture mailing list