Olive Tree Growth Rate: How Fast Olive Tree Grow?

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If you are planning to grow an olive tree, you may be curious about what is the olive tree growth rate to be sure where to place it. Generally speaking, olive trees grow to full maturity quite slowly, at most 2 – 4 inches (5 – 10 cm) of new growth a year. As well, olive trees planted in the ground grows faster than olive trees in pots.

To be more precise, for the first year, you won’t see much growth at all, since the olive tree will be adjusting to the shock of transplanting. Expect to see the best growth in the second to the third year. Afterward, the olive tree will reach a steady yearly growth up until maturity.

I. Olive Tree Growth Rate by Stages

From seedling to maturity, understanding olive tree growth stages is a rewarding journey that requires patience and know-how. With a clear grasp of olive tree growth rates and stages, you can optimize your gardening practices, ensuring your olive trees thrive and yield bountiful harvests year after year.

First, let’s look into an informative table with typical olive tree (Olea europaea) growth stages and growth rates whether you plant it in a pot or in the ground. The mature olive tree can reach up to 25 – 50 feet (8 – 15 meters) height at age 12 – 15 years.

Olive Tree Growth StageAge RangeAverage Annual Growth Rate (inches)Average Annual Growth Rate (cm)Notes
Seedling Stage0 – 1 years4 to 8 inches10 to 20 cmThis is the initial stage of growth from the olive seed. The seedling focuses on establishing its root system and beginning stem and leaf growth.
Juvenile Stage1 – 8 years12 to 24 inches30 to 60 cmDuring this stage, the sapling transitions to a young tree. It is the best growth of an olive tree in proportion to its size; it can grow double in size in 2nd year. There’s rapid growth in height, and the formation of branches begins.
Maturation Stage8 – 50 years6 to 12 inches15 to 30 cmThe olive tree now enters the stage of full maturity. Growth in height slows down, but the tree widens as it develops more branches and leaves. It also begins to bear fruit during this stage.
Aging Stage50+ years1 to 3 inches2.5 to 7.5 cmThe growth rate slows down considerably in the aging stage. The tree focuses more on expanding and hardening its trunk and branches. The bark becomes thick and gnarled, adding to the tree’s majestic appearance.
Table 1. Olive tree growth stages and growth rates.

Keep in mind these are estimates and actual growth can vary based on factors like soil quality, climate, watering, sunlight, fertilization, placement, variety, pruning, and repotting discussed below. This chart should give you a general idea of what to expect during the different stages of your olive tree’s life.

Also, I would like to point out that if olive tree has been propagated from cuttings, then the growth rate 1st year may be very slow of 1 – 2 inches (2.5 – 5 cm) due to the shock of transplanting.

Now let’s review each growth stage separately:

1. Seedling Stage

The seedling stage begins as soon as the olive seed is planted. If you’ve ever seen an olive seed, you’ll know it’s a tiny thing, but with a little care, it has the potential to grow into a magnificent tree.

The first thing you’ll notice after planting the seed is the germination, which usually occurs after 30-40 days, sometimes longer. It’s an exhilarating sight when that tiny green shoot first breaks through the soil surface!

During the first year, growth can be slow and often not very noticeable. It’s a critical stage, though, as the young olive plant is developing its root system and establishing itself. You can expect your seedling to grow about 6 to 12 inches (or around 15 to 30 cm) in the first year.

In the second year, with a good foundation established, your sapling will begin to grow more noticeably. The stem will start to thicken, and the plant’s overall structure will become more tree-like. During this stage, growth can vary widely, but typically, I’ve seen my trees grow around 12 to 24 inches (or 30.5 to 61 cm) in the second year.

It’s important to remember that while these are average growth rates, actual growth can vary based on factors like soil quality, climate, and watering practices.

olive tree growth rate first year
My potted olive tree grows very slowly; it grew up to 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) in the first half year but had many new buds growing out.

2. Juvenile Stage

Now, when we say ‘juvenile’ stage, we’re talking about the years following the sapling stage, typically between the third and seventh year. This is when your tree really starts to come into its own. The stem thickens further, and the tree begins to take on the familiar, sturdy shape of an olive tree. It’s a thrilling sight to behold!

In terms of growth, the juvenile stage is when the action really heats up. Based on my personal experience, you can expect your olive tree to grow anywhere from 24 to 36 inches (or 61 to 91.4 cm) per year during this period. It’s an exciting time, and you’ll likely find yourself marveling at how quickly your tree is growing!

Remember, though, that while your tree might be growing fast, it still needs lots of care and attention. Regular watering, fertilization, and ensuring your tree gets plenty of sunlight are all vital at this stage.

The juvenile stage is a crucial period in your olive tree’s life. It’s a time of rapid growth and development, and if you give your tree the care it needs, by the end of this stage, you’ll have a strong, healthy olive tree on your hands.

3. Maturation Stage

The maturation stage is usually recognized around the eighth year and beyond. Now you have a fully grown, mature olive tree that’s ready to bear fruit, a moment that can’t help but make you feel a sense of accomplishment!

During the maturation stage, the growth of your olive tree will slow down compared to its rapid growth during the juvenile stage. But slow growth doesn’t mean no growth. Even mature olive trees continue to grow, just at a slower rate. Usually, you can expect a mature olive tree to grow between 6 and 12 inches (or 15.2 to 30.5 cm) per year.

While your tree may not be growing as quickly as it once did, it’s still important to take care of it properly. Sunlight, water, and soil quality remain crucial, but pruning becomes even more important during this stage. A well-pruned tree is healthier, and it produces higher quality fruit.

Mature olive trees can live for hundreds of years if given the proper care. It’s fascinating to think about the tree you’ve nurtured living for centuries, isn’t it?

4. Aging Stage

An olive tree officially enters the aging stage once it’s about 50 years old. From this point, it continues to grow and thrive for potentially hundreds of years. Amazing, isn’t it? Olive trees have a profound resilience and can live for many centuries. In fact, some of the oldest olive trees in the world are estimated to be over a thousand years old!

During the aging stage, the growth rate of an olive tree slows down considerably. The tree has already reached its full height, so the focus of growth shifts towards the expansion and hardening of its trunk and branches. On average, an aging olive tree grows at a rate of about 1 to 3 inches (or 2.5 to 7.6 cm) per year.

An aging olive tree’s appearance changes too. Its bark thickens and takes on a gnarled, weathered look that’s full of character. This weathered appearance, combined with the tree’s sheer size and stature, makes an aging olive tree a truly majestic sight to behold.

As an olive tree grower, there’s something deeply satisfying about seeing a tree you’ve nurtured enter the aging stage. It’s a testament to the tree’s strength and resilience, as well as your skill and dedication as a grower. It’s a gentle reminder that with patience and care, something beautiful and long-lasting can grow from a tiny seed.

II. Experiment of Growing Olive Trees And Results

More than 5 years ago my cousin and I did an experiment on growing 2 wild olive trees and testing their growth rates.

First, we planted 2 wild olive trees (Olea europaea var. sylvestris) in spring: they both were approx. 1.5 feet (45 cm) tall with roots grown from cuttings. One wild olive tree was planted next to the house with some shadow during the day, another one was planted 65 feet (20 meters) away next to a will.

Then, after 1 year we compared the growth results of these olive trees. Sadly I don’t have pictures of this experiment have taken 5 years back, but here I can provide a table with metrics and our findings:

Wild Olive TreesSize When PlantedSize After 1 YearAppearance Description
Olive Tree #1 Planted Next to the House1.5 feet (45 cm)5.5 feet (1.8 m) tallMore wild and messy; branches grew all over the place like seeking a sun.
Olive Tree #2 Planted Away from a House Next to a Will1.5 feet (45 cm)2 feet (60 cm) tallMore compact and bushy; had a fuller thicker branch and leaf structure. More healthy appearance
Our experiment results of 2 wild olive tree growth rates after one year

To summarize this experiment, we went to the conclusion, that those 2 wild olive trees had totally different growing experiences and conditions that resulted in different growth rates. Olive tree #1 had less sun and was spreading its branches to reach most of the sun it could. While olive tree #2 was growing close to water resources and had full-day sunlight, as a result, it grew a compact structure and thick branches and stem.

For a healthy steady growth olive trees need a full day of sunlight and accessible water resources.

Also, for more information on why some olive trees struggle to grow and what are the reasons, don’t forget to check out my recent article Olive Tree Not Growing or Producing Leaves.

III. Understanding the Growth Rate

1. Average Growth Rate in the First Few Years

On average, in the first year, your olive tree will still be in its infancy. It’s during this time that it’s finding its footing, focusing on root development more than height. So, the visible growth might not be as rapid as you’d expect. You might see an increase of around 12-15 inches (30-38 cm) in the first year. Remember, your little tree is putting in a lot of effort under the soil, too!

In the second and third years, your tree will start to grow in confidence, and you’ll likely see it gaining a bit more height. This is when your olive tree might grow approximately 12-24 inches (30-61 cm) per year, depending on the specific variety and growing conditions.

Remember, these are average figures. Each olive tree has its own unique growth journey.

2. Expected Height and Size at Maturity

The average olive tree can reach a height of 20 to 30 feet tall (6 to 9 meters) when it matures. In the right conditions, it can even stretch out to 50 feet (15 meters)! Imagine that – a tree you’ve nurtured from a tiny sapling growing to stand as tall as a house. And oh boy, the canopy spread is something to marvel at too. Typically, the spread will be around 20 feet (6 meters), which gives the tree a lovely, rounded shape that’s perfect for providing a generous patch of shade.

Do keep in mind that these are just general estimates. The eventual size and height of your olive tree will depend on its specific variety. For instance, a ‘Little Ollie’ will only grow to around 6 feet tall (approx 2 meters), while a ‘Frantoio’ can easily reach up to 30 feet (9 meters).

One of the joys of gardening is watching your trees grow, and with olive trees, you’re definitely in for a rewarding experience.

3. Lifespan of an Olive Tree


So you’ve got your olive tree, you’ve seen it grow, you’ve enjoyed the fruits of your labor – so now, how long can you expect this tree to be a part of your life? Well, prepare to be amazed, because olive trees aren’t just your average trees – they are veritable longevity champions!

Some olive trees can live for hundreds, even thousands, of years. Yes, you heard me right! Many of these ancient trees are still producing olives to this day. However, for most home gardeners, an olive tree will be your companion for a good 300 to 600 years. Imagine that – an olive tree planted today could very well be enjoyed by generations of your family down the line.

The trick to a long-lived olive tree is a blend of good care and ideal conditions. With a well-drained soil, plenty of sunlight, and the right amount of water, your olive tree could stand the test of time.

In short, if you treat your olive tree right, it will reward you with a lifetime – and beyond – of beauty and productivity. There’s a kind of magic in that, don’t you think? Olive trees truly are a gift that keeps on giving.

IV. Factors Influencing Olive Tree Growth Rate

Most important to note that many factors affect an olive tree growth rate. Here are listed the main factors to consider:

1. Olive Tree Variety

If there’s one thing I absolutely love about olive trees, it’s their sheer diversity! Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a multitude of species and cultivars, each with its own unique traits and quirks.

Different olive tree varieties will grow in various sizes. Some olive trees can reach up to 52 feet (16 m) in height; others will be smaller size draft olive trees in pots. For example, our Kalamata olive trees, producing amazing large table olives, grow up to 20 feet (6m) since we manage their height by pruning annually to simplify the olive collection process.

Let me share with you some olive varieties and their typical growth rates.

For those of you who like something a little more compact, I’d recommend the Olea Europaea ‘Little Ollie’. This dwarf variety is perfect for smaller spaces or for growing in pots. ‘Little Ollie’ has a slow to medium growth rate, gaining up to 12 inches (30 cm) per year, and only reaches 6 feet (2 meters) in height.

Now, if you’re a fan of Spanish olives, you’ll adore the Olea Europaea ‘Arbequina’. This little tree is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to oil production. Arbequina trees have a medium growth rate, with an annual increase up to 24 inches (30 cm) and maxing out around 20 feet (6 m), making it an excellent choice for smaller gardens or pots. What I love about this variety is its adaptability – it’s highly tolerant of different climates and soil types.

Olea Europaea ‘Koroneiki’ is a small Greek tree and the most famous oil-producing superstar. The Koroneiki has a fast growth rate, meaning it can grow up to 24 inches (60 cm) and more yearly. Despite its smaller size (it usually grows to about 20 feet (6 meters)), it’s known to produce a highly aromatic, flavorful oil that’s absolutely divine.

The Olea Europaea ‘Kalamata’ is Greek variety famous for its large, dark fruits. Kalamata variety is a sturdy, medium-growth tree, adding up to 20 inches (50 cm) each year. It’s a real eye-catcher with its silvery-green leaves and can reach heights of up to 20 feet (6 meters).

Next, let’s chat about the Olea Europaea ‘Frantoio’. This Italian cultivar is known for its prolific oil production. It grows slightly slower than other varieties (up to 12 inches (30 cm)), but the end result is worth the wait.

Last but not least is the Olea Europaea sylvestris, or the Wild Olive. It is a slow-growing beauty, its gnarled trunk and dense canopy a true spectacle. The growth rate is somewhat slow compared to the others, growing up to 12 inches (30 cm) per year. But again, patience is a virtue with these trees.

Remember, these are just a few examples of the diverse world of olive trees. You’re sure to discover your own favorites as you delve deeper into the wonderful world of olives. The table below provides a more comprehensive overview.

Olive VarietyHeight at Maturity (in feet)Height at Maturity (in meters)Growth Rate (per year in inches)Growth Rate (per year in cm)Growth Speed
Olea Europaea ‘Little Ollie’4 to 6 1.2 to 1.8Up to 12”Up to 30Slow
ArbequinaUp to 20Up to 6Up to 20”Up to 50Medium
KoroneikiUp to 20Up to 6Up to 24”Up to 60Fast
KalamataUp to 20Up to 6Up to 20”Up to 50Medium
ManzanillaUp to 25Up to 7.6Up to 20”Up to 50Medium
FrantoioUp to 25Up to 7.6Up to 16”Up to 40Medium
PicholineUp to 25Up to 7.6Up to 16”Up to 40Medium
Olea Europaea sylvestris (Wild Olive)Up to 30Up to 9Up to 12”Up to 30Slow
MissionUp to 30Up to 9Up to 20”Up to 50Medium
Table . 9 popular olive varieties’ height at maturity, growth rate, and growth speed.

It’s worth noting that these figures can vary depending on the specific growing conditions and care the tree receives. But this table should give you a good general idea of what to expect from each of these popular olive tree varieties.

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2. Climate

Olive trees grow best and faster under the warmth of the sun. Originating from the Mediterranean, they’re accustomed to long, hot summers and mild winters. If you’ve ever dreamed about vacationing on a sunny Greek island, that’s the kind of weather your olive tree longs for too!

Temperature

Olive trees are quite the sun worshipers. They do best in areas where the average summer temperature ranges between 80°F to 90°F (27°C to 32°C). They can handle cooler temperatures in winter but be cautious of freezing conditions. Olive trees can tolerate temperatures as low as 20°F (-7°C), but prolonged exposure can harm the tree.

Sunlight

When it comes to sun exposure, more is better for olive trees. I always recommend a full sun location where your tree can bask in at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. Good sunlight is not just for a suntan; it’s needed for the tree’s photosynthesis and, ultimately, olive production.

Rainfall

While olive trees are drought-tolerant, they do need some water. In their native Mediterranean climate, they receive most of their moisture during winter. Annual rainfall of 20 to 40 inches (50 to 100 cm) is ideal. Remember, olive trees are not big fans of overly wet soil, so good drainage is crucial!

Wind

You might not think about it, but wind is a factor too. Olive trees can stand up to wind pretty well. In fact, a little breeze is beneficial as it helps pollinate the flowers. But, extreme wind conditions can damage the tree and affect the olive yield. So, a windbreak could be a good idea if you live in a particularly windy area.

Read more about the conditions in which olive trees grow best.

3. Soil Quality

If you’ve ever wondered, “What kind of soil do olive trees like?” you’re asking the right question. Soil plays a substantial role in the growth of your olive tree, and knowing the best soil types for these Mediterranean beauties can make a world of difference.

Loamy Soil

Olive trees love well-draining soil, and loamy soil hits the mark. Rich in nutrients, with a balanced mix of sand, silt, and clay, loamy soil provides the perfect environment for olive tree roots to spread out and thrive. It’s the Goldilocks of soils – not too heavy, not too sandy, just right for your olive tree.

Sandy Soil

Olive trees are also quite at home in sandy soil. The loose texture of sandy soil allows for excellent drainage, preventing water from accumulating around the roots, which could potentially cause root rot – something no olive tree grower wants!

pH Level

A vital factor that sometimes slips under the radar is soil pH. Olive trees prefer slightly acidic to neutral pH levels, around 6.0 to 8.0. You’re on the right track if your soil falls within this range. If it doesn’t, don’t worry! You can adjust your soil’s pH with various additives. Lime can make soil more alkaline, while organic matter or sulfur can acidify your soil.

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Soil Preparation

Before you plant, spend some time preparing the soil. I always recommend testing the soil first, so you know what you’re working with. From there, you can add organic matter, compost, or specific soil amendments to create that perfect soil mix for your olive tree.

Read more about the best soil for olive trees; how to prepare soil for planting olive trees and soil management while cultivating olive trees.

4. Watering

Watering your olive tree might seem a straightforward task, but believe me; it can make or break your tree’s growth and fruit production. Olive trees are drought-tolerant by nature, hailing from regions where water can be scarce commodity. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate a good drink!

Olive Tree’s Water Needs

Now, you might be wondering, “How often should I water my olive tree?” Here’s the thing: olive trees don’t like to have ‘wet feet.’ Too much water, especially in poorly drained soil, can lead to root rot – a serious problem that can severely affect your tree’s health.

Watering Young Olive Trees

When you first plant your olive tree, regular watering is needed to help it establish its root system. I recommend watering young trees at least once a week. Check the soil before you water – if the top two inches (approx 5 cm) are dry, it’s time to water. Give it a good soak, allowing water to reach the deeper root zones.

Watering Mature Olive Trees

As your olive tree matures, it will require less frequent watering. A deep watering every two to four weeks should suffice. This encourages the roots to grow deeper into the soil, making the tree more drought-tolerant and resilient.

Olive Tree Size/AgePotted or in-groundWatering FrequencyWater Quantity (per watering)
Newly plantedGround1-2 times per week2-3 gallons (7-11 liters)
Newly plantedPot2-3 times per week10-20% of the pot size
Young trees (1-3 years)Ground2-3 times per month3-5 gallons (11-20 liters)
Young trees (1-3 years)PotOnce per week 10-20% of the pot size
Mature trees (5+ years)Ground1-2 per month5-10 gallons (20-40 liters)
Mature trees (5+ years)Pot2-3 times per month10-20% of the pot size
Table. Olive tree watering frequency and quantity based on planting type: potted or in-ground

Remember, these are just general guidelines. The exact watering frequency will depend on your local climate and soil type. If you live in a hot, dry region or are experiencing a particularly dry summer, you might need to water more often.

Also, potted trees generally require more frequent watering than those in the ground as they dry out more quickly.

Mulching

One pro-tip I love to share is the use of mulch. Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of your tree can help conserve soil moisture and maintain a more stable soil temperature. Plus, as the mulch breaks down, it adds nutrients to the soil – a win-win!

In conclusion, watering is a balancing act. While olive trees are more forgiving of drought than overwatering, they still need regular, deep watering to thrive, particularly during dry periods.

5. Sunlight

Like most fruiting trees, olive trees love sunlight. I often say that sunlight is like a delicious meal for an olive tree. It simply can’t get enough of it! And for good reason: sunlight plays a pivotal role in photosynthesis, the process by which the tree transforms sunlight into the energy it needs to grow.

Ideally, your olive trees should be soaking up at least six hours of full, direct sunlight each day. If you’re planting multiple trees, ensure they’re spaced out enough to prevent shading. This is because sunlight doesn’t just fuel the tree’s growth; it also helps to ripen the fruit and enhance the olive’s flavor.

In my experience, olive trees situated in the best sunlight often yield the most abundant and flavorful fruit. But what if your garden doesn’t get that much sun? Well, don’t fret! Olive trees are hearty and adaptable. They can tolerate partial shade, though their growth may be slower, and the fruit yield might be less.

When you’re planting a new tree or moving a potted tree, pay close attention to the path of the sun across your property. Try to place your tree in the sunniest spot. If you’re working with a less sunny location, just remember, patience is key! Your olive tree might take a little more time, but with the right care, it can still thrive.

Remember, every bit of sunlight is a gift to your olive tree. So, let’s get those trees basking in the sunlight and watch them grow!

6. Fertilization

First, let’s understand why fertilization is important. Olive trees, like all living beings, need nutrients to grow and thrive. While they can get some of these nutrients from the soil, often, it’s not enough. That’s where fertilization comes in. It’s like a multivitamin for your olive tree, providing it with the essential nutrients it needs to flourish.

From my experience, a well-balanced fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is best for olive trees. Nitrogen helps with leaf growth and gives your tree that lush, green look. Phosphorus is great for root and fruit development, and potassium boosts the overall health and disease resistance of the tree.

When should you fertilize? I usually recommend fertilizing in the spring and again in the fall. Spring is when your tree is coming out of its winter dormancy and starting to put on new growth, so it needs plenty of nutrients. Fall fertilization helps the tree store nutrients for the winter and prepares it for the next growing season.

Remember, though, that more isn’t always better when it comes to fertilization. Over-fertilizing can harm your tree and even stunt its growth. A little goes a long way, so always follow the package instructions and never exceed the recommended amount.

Also, before you start fertilizing, it’s a good idea to get a soil test. This will tell you what nutrients your soil already has in abundance and what it’s lacking. This way, you can choose a fertilizer that complements your soil’s natural nutrient profile.

Check out our guide on how to care for olive trees.

7. Repotting

If you keep an olive tree in a pot, it may slow down growth if roots are heavily bounded and don’t have space to “breath”. As to avoid it, repot your tree once in a couple of years by following this guide when is the best time to repot olive trees.

As well find out what other problems with olive trees may affect your olive tree growth.

olive tree growth rate slow
This is a Koroneiki variety olive tree I grow in a pot, every year I prune and shape it to the height I prefer

V. How to Accelerate Olive Tree Growth

1. Proper Planting Techniques

If you’re as eager as I am to see your olive tree grow and thrive, the journey begins with proper planting. Believe me, the right planting technique can set your tree off to a fantastic start!

First things first, you want to make sure you’re giving your olive tree plenty of room to spread its roots. A hole that’s about twice as wide and just as deep as the root ball is perfect. This might seem a bit generous, but it allows the roots to expand comfortably into the soil.

But hold up! Before you pop that tree into the hole, take a moment to examine the roots. If they’re wrapped tightly around the root ball (a condition we call “root bound”), gently tease them apart. This encourages them to grow outwards into the soil instead of continuing to circle around the root ball.

Now, let’s talk about the fill. A mix of original soil and well-decomposed compost provides excellent drainage and just the right amount of nutrients to get your olive tree off to a healthy start. Pack the soil gently around the roots, making sure the tree sits no deeper than it was in its original pot.

Finally, give your newly planted olive tree a generous drink of water. This helps settle the soil and hydrates the roots, helping your tree to bounce back from the shock of planting.

Remember, the key is to give your olive tree a strong foundation from the start. With these planting techniques, you’ll be setting your tree up for a successful growth journey.

2. Optimal Watering, Fertilizing and Pruning Practises

Want your olive tree to reach for the stars? Well, that’s a big yes in my book! Let me share with you some of the best practices for watering, fertilizing, and pruning that have helped me accelerate the growth of my olive trees.

When it comes to watering, it’s crucial to strike a balance. I’ve found that the “soak and dry” approach works wonders. Water the tree deeply until the soil is thoroughly moist and then allow it to dry out before the next watering. A good rule of thumb is to water young trees at least once a week and mature trees every two to four weeks, depending on the weather and soil type. Remember, overwatering can lead to root rot, so make sure your tree’s soil doesn’t stay soggy for too long.

Now let’s talk about fertilizing. In my experience, olive trees are pretty low-maintenance, but a little extra nutrition can certainly speed up their growth. I apply a slow-release granular fertilizer in the spring, just as the new growth begins to emerge. Look for a balanced fertilizer, like a 10-10-10, which has equal parts nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. These nutrients contribute to healthy leaf, root, and fruit development, which all play a part in your tree’s growth.

And finally, pruning. While it might seem counterintuitive to cut back your tree to help it grow, strategic pruning can actually promote healthier, faster growth. The key is to remove any dead, diseased, or overcrowded branches. This helps direct more of the tree’s energy towards productive growth and also keeps the tree’s shape open and airy, which promotes better sunlight penetration and air circulation.

By following these watering, fertilizing, and pruning practices, you’ll be doing everything you can to help your olive tree grow strong and healthy.

3. Protecting the Tree from Pests and Diseases

As an olive tree grower, I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to protect your beloved trees from pests and diseases. These pesky problems can stunt your tree’s growth, harm its health, and even jeopardize its life! But don’t worry – I’ve got a few tried and true tips to keep your olive trees in tip-top shape.

The first step is vigilance. I regularly check my olive trees for signs of pests like the olive fruit fly or diseases like olive knot. For me, this means a weekly walk-through of my olive grove, inspecting leaves, branches, and fruit for any signs of trouble. Early detection is the key to prevent minor issues from becoming major problems.

If I spot pests, I try to go the organic route whenever possible. For example, to combat olive fruit flies, I use traps filled with a mixture of yeast and sugar, which lure in and capture these pests before they can lay eggs on my olives. In severe infestations, I might turn to a specially formulated organic insecticide for help.

For fungal diseases like olive knot, prevention is the best cure. It’s all about good hygiene – pruning any infected branches and making sure to sterilize my pruning tools between cuts. In the case of a severe outbreak, I apply a copper-based fungicide, which stops the disease from spreading without harming the tree or the environment.

Remember, not all bugs are bad! Encouraging beneficial insects, like ladybugs and lacewings, can naturally control pests. I often plant flowers and herbs around my olive trees to attract these helpful critters.

– Ensure lots of sun and well-draining soil for the best olive tree growth rate. If possible, create the Mediterranean climate zone at your home.

– Do not feed the olive tree for the first year, and when you do, use a slow-release, low analysis nitrogenous fertilizer.

– Light pruning after the first year is recommended to correct structural problems and shape your olive tree the way you want.

– To improve a fruit yield for a better harvest, you can speed the growth somewhat by carefully pruning the tree during its first five years, to create a strong, straight central trunk.

– People who are more interested in the ornamental value of the olive tree may prefer to make a bonsai olive tree or let the tree grow naturally.

VI. Grab Essentials for Your Olive Tree

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VII. Frequently Asked Questions

How fast do olive trees grow?

Olive trees are relatively slow growers, generally adding about 12-24 inches (30 – 60 cm) to their height each year. However, their growth rate can vary depending on their variety, location, and care regimen.

How tall does an olive tree get?

The average height of an olive tree at maturity ranges from 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters), though some varieties like ‘Little Ollie’ are much shorter. With careful pruning, you can also manage the height of your olive tree.

Can I speed up the growth of my olive tree?

Definitely! Proper planting techniques, adequate watering, timely fertilization, and regular pruning can all help accelerate your olive tree’s growth. Remember, each tree is unique, so it may take a bit of trial and error to find the perfect care routine.

How long do olive trees live?

Olive trees are some of the longest-living fruit trees out there, with a lifespan that can easily reach 500 years or more. In fact, some olive trees in the Mediterranean are thought to be over a thousand years old!

What is the best climate for olive tree growth?

Olive trees thrive in Mediterranean climates, which have hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. However, they’re also quite adaptable and can tolerate a range of conditions, provided they get plenty of sunlight.

VIII. Conclusion

Sunshine, quick-draining soil, airflow, infrequent deep watering, and seasonal feeding are the keys to the faster olive tree growth rate and extended olive tree lifespan. In case you live up North, bring your olive tree indoors to enjoy some warmth during cold seasons to ensure stable growth.  

One more thing, the growth speed and final height of the olive tree will depend on the rootstock upon which the top of the olive tree is grafted. So if you really want to learn the specifics of your olive tree, refer back to the nursery where you bought the plant and see what they tell you.

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10 thoughts on “Olive Tree Growth Rate: How Fast Olive Tree Grow?”

  1. Bought a Mission olive about 30 inches tall single leader with 3 sprawling branches.
    After one year it is 5 feet tall and a 6 foot spread with some training.
    Hopefully it exceeds your predictions as I want to screen from a fence.
    Mark L

  2. Hi Mark, thank you for sharing with us. That is very interesting! Do you have any pictures to share? How old is your tree? How much the trunk itself grew of your tree? For example, A year ago I got a baby olive tree – Koroneiki variety in a pot and its core grew only a few centimeters per last year (branches spread much wider of course, though I trimmed them abit). It all depends on many factors. Normally the best growth of an olive tree in the proportion of its size are the first years.

  3. Hi Mike, one of the fast-growing olive tree varieties are Arbequina, Koroneiki, and Frantoio.

  4. I recently bought an arbequina olive tree and it is only 7-8 inches tall and in a pot. Is it possible to determine how old it is and how soon I can expect to get olives on it. I plan on moving it to a larger pot with fresh Miracle Grow soil. Is this a good idea or not?

  5. Hi Thomas, if your olive tree grows in a nursery pot, you should repot it into a bigger pot, at least 25% larger than the root ball of olive tree. You can find more information about pots for olive trees in our article “large pots for olive trees“. Commercial soil is good for olive trees as long as good drainage is ensured.

  6. Hi, we bought this large tree from a local nursery about 18 months ago. It was imported from Spain. It has been planted with free draining soil and I have been fertilising it with nitrogen. Most of the leaves fell off and it looks rather sickly with curling bark. Can I send you photos? I’m hoping it will start to recover this year. What do you think?

  7. Hi Sarah!

    It sounds like you’ve put a lot of care into your olive tree, and it’s understandable to feel concerned when it’s not looking its best. Leaf loss and curling bark could be due to a variety of factors. Here are a few potential causes and some corresponding solutions:

    – Overwatering or Underwatering: Both can cause leaf loss. Olive trees are drought-tolerant, but they do need regular watering. Make sure the soil is drying out between waterings, but don’t let it get bone dry.
    Solution: You might want to adjust your watering schedule. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil – if it’s dry, it’s time to water.

    – Nutrient Deficiency: If you’re only fertilizing with nitrogen, your tree might be missing out on other important nutrients like phosphorus and potassium.
    Solution: Consider using a well-balanced fertilizer that contains other essential nutrients. A soil test could help identify any deficiencies.

    – Temperature or Light Stress: Olive trees need lots of light, and they can also be sensitive to sudden temperature changes.
    Solution: If it’s indoors, consider moving it to a sunnier spot. If it’s outdoors, try to ensure it’s not in a spot where it will experience extreme temperature fluctuations.

    – Pests or Disease: Various pests and diseases can cause leaf loss and bark issues.
    Solution: Inspect the tree closely for signs of pests or disease. You might see discolored spots on the leaves or unusual growths on the bark. If you find anything concerning, you may need to treat the tree with a suitable pesticide or fungicide, or consult a local arborist.

    Remember, recovery may take time, and continued care is crucial. If the tree’s condition doesn’t improve or worsens, I’d recommend getting in touch with a local arborist or your local extension service for more personalized advice.

    Wishing you all the best with your olive tree!

  8. Approximately how long does it take for an olive tree seedling to grow its first true leaves?

  9. Hi Samantha, Once the olive seedling has established a root system and begins to photosynthesize, it will start to develop its first true leaves. It typically takes about 2-3 months for an olive tree seedling to grow its first set of true leaves. Keep in mind that this timeline can vary based on environmental factors such as light, temperature, and the quality of care provided to the seedling.

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