Zone 8 Olive Trees: Can Olives Grow In Zone 8 Gardens


By: Teo Spengler

Olive trees are long-lived trees native to the warm Mediterranean region. Can olives grow in zone 8? It is entirely possible to start growing olives in some parts of zone 8 if you select healthy, hardy olive trees. Read on for information about zone 8 olive trees and tips for growing olives in zone 8.

Can Olives Grow in Zone 8?

If you love olive trees and live in a zone 8 region, you may be asking: can olives grow in zone 8? The U.S. Department of Agriculture designates areas as zone 8a if the average coldest winter temperature is 10 degrees F. (-12 C.) and zone 8b if the lowest temperature is 20 degrees F. (-7 C.).

While not every olive tree variety will survive in these regions, you can succeed at growing olives in zone 8 if you select hardy olive trees. You’ll also need to be attentive to chill hours and zone 8 olive care.

Hardy Olive Trees

You can find hardy olive trees in commerce that will thrive in USDA zone 8. Zone 8 olive trees generally require that winter temperatures stay above 10 degrees F. (-12 C.). They also require some 300 to 1,000 hours of chill to bear fruit, depending on the cultivar.

Some of the cultivars for zone 8 olive trees are quite a bit smaller than the massive trees you may have seen. For example, both ‘Arbequina” and “Arbosana” are small cultivars, topping out at some 5 feet (1.5 m.) tall. Both thrive in USDA zone 8b, but may not make it in zone 8a if temperatures dip below 10 degrees F. (-12 C.).

‘Koroneiki’ is another potential tree for the list of zone 8 olive trees. It is a popular Italian olive variety known for its high oil content. It also stays below 5 feet (1.5 m.) tall. Both ‘Koroneiki’ and ‘Arbequina’ fruit fairly quickly, after about three years.

Zone 8 Olive Care

Zone 8 olive tree care is not too difficult. Olive trees don’t need a lot of special care in general. You’ll want to be sure to select a site with full sun. It’s also important to plant zone 8 olive trees in well-draining soil.

One thing you’ll need to keep in mind is pollination. Some trees, like ‘Arbequina,’ are self-pollinating, but other hardy olive trees require a pollinator. The kicker here is that not just any tree will do, so make sure the trees are compatible. Consulting with your local extension office will help with this.

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Fruitless Olive Tree Care

With their contorted shape, fruitless olive trees make for a beautiful addition to lawns and landscapes. Their care is similar to that of a traditional olive tree, so as long as you live in the proper growing zone, you should have no issue tending to these Mediterranean beauties.

Once your fruitless olive is established, it requires very little care. They are extremely drought tolerant and prone to a few problems or pests. The trees can produce suckers and may need to be pruned annually to keep their shape.

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The Spruce / K. Dave

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The Spruce / K. Dave

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Light

All types of olive trees require full sun for healthy, prosperous growth. A good goal is to plant your olive tree in a place that gets at least eight hours of sunight a day. Keep in mind that those requirements will need to be maintained as the tree gets larger, too, so be wary of nearby houses or other large trees.

While fruitless olive trees can handle a variety of different soil conditions, it's imperative that whatever mixture you choose has excellent drainage. For best success, plant your tree in a soil blend that is rocky or sandy (this can include mixing potting soil with perlite or gravel).

Water

Although fruitless olive trees are very drought tolerant, they should be given some supplemental water as they are first becoming established, and a bit during extreme heat and dry periods. Water your tree at its base and roots so you don't damage its delicate leaves. Browning leaves and loss of leaves is usually caused by either insufficient water or waterlogged soil. Be sure to provide good drainage if you're growing your tree in a container—a clay or terracotta pot will also help aid in drainage.


How to Plant Olive Trees in Oregon

Gardening can be a compromise between what you want to plant and what grows well in your area, and the Oregon olive tree is a perfect example of this struggle. While olives aren't recommended for growing in Oregon's climate, Oregon Olive Trees reports success growing olives and making olive oil. Choose a hardy olive cultivar, select a site wisely and provide your tree with winter protection for the best shot at success with an Oregon olive tree.

Select your variety. Oregon Olive Trees recommends the Leccino, Frantoio, Arbequina or Pendolino olive tree for Oregon's climate. The olives can be used for either table olives or olive oil (though you'll need a lot of olives to make oil) and these varieties fare better than others in the colder Oregon climate.

Choose the best site for planting. Oregon Olive Tree suggests an area that has good air circulation, 10 hours a day (or more) of sunlight and well-draining soil. Boggy or poor-draining soil, too much shade and temperatures below 15 F will harm your olive tree.

  • Gardening can be a compromise between what you want to plant and what grows well in your area, and the Oregon olive tree is a perfect example of this struggle.
  • Choose a hardy olive cultivar, select a site wisely and provide your tree with winter protection for the best shot at success with an Oregon olive tree.

Test your soil pH at the chosen site using a pH kit. As Santa Cruz Olive Tree Nursery notes, olives like an alkaline soil with a pH of 7.0 to 8.0. If your soil is too acidic add lime to make it more alkaline, using The Garden Helper's soil amendment chart.

Dig a hole twice the size of your olive tree's root ball. Remove stones, twigs and other debris from the site. Remove your olive tree sapling from its plastic container, but take care not to break apart the roots.

Place the tree in the hole at the same depth it was planted in the container. Then cover over the hole with soil.

  • Test your soil pH at the chosen site using a pH kit.
  • If your soil is too acidic add lime to make it more alkaline, using The Garden Helper's soil amendment chart.

Water the newly planted tree until the soil is saturated. Continue to water the tree whenever the soil grows dry to the touch.

Oregon Olive Trees suggests planting in the spring, not the fall, since winter can be harsh on young trees.



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