The best varieties of olive tree to grow in the UK are those which originate from the european countries Italy and Spain.
These are the Olea Europaea -
Olive Trees can be found for sale at Specialist Olive Tree Nurseries
The olive tree, Olea is an evergreen tree with silvery leaves and a twisted and gnarled trunk.
It is native to Asia, Africa and Mediterranean Countries, but can be grown in other countries.
The height of an olive tree rarely exceeds 8 to 15 metres / 25 to 50 feet. It has a spread of 7 - 9 metres which can take up to a 100 years to reach.
A mature olive tree can withstand a frost temperature as low as around -10 to -12 degrees centigrade - however young trees are not frost hardy.
If temperatures are likely to fall below this in winter it is better to grow olive trees in containers and move them into a cool, protected place inside such as a conservatory or cool greenhouse over winter .
Olives require long hot summers if the fruits are to fully ripen.
They also need low enough winter temperatures for the chilling needed for the specific variety.
Olive trees are best grown in a sunny spot in a well drained soil.
Olives can grow in nutrient poor soils. They require full sun for good fruit production and a slight winter chill is needed for the olive fruits to set.
They do not tolerate windy conditions and should be planted in a sheltered spot - dry, hot winds and also cool wet weather during flowering reduce the fruit set.
Keep the soil that the tree is growing in moist and maintain the the pH level of the soil at under 8.5.
Feed the olive tree with fertilizer with a high nitrogen content. They also require high levels of potassium.
There are 3 main types of olive tree pruning:
When pruning an olive tree clip the branches at the leaf nodes to promote fuller growth.
If you only want a single trunk on your olive tree prune out any branches that are growing below the required branching point.
If you want to get the gnarled, twisted appearance of several entwined trunks then you should stake the basal suckers and lower branches at an angle and then allow the olive brances to entwine together.
Olives can be picked by hand while they are still green, but have reached their full size, or they can be left on the tree to turn black when they have become fully ripe.
Take care when harvesting as olives are easily bruised when ripe.
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Growing Olive Trees - Advice on best varieties to plant, olive tree care, pruning, harvesting olives, how to grow olives.