Frequently Asked Questions about Agriculture


Q. What types of fertilizers should I use on my olive grove?
A. Anything containing Potassium, Nitrogen, Phosphate and in heavy clay soils an application of lime is recommended. Bear in mind that all nutrition should be targeted correctly, since an incorrect balance can promote vegetation instead of new wood for fruit production.


Q. What type of soil do I need?
A. Well-drained soil is preferred. With poorly drained soils, water logging, root rot and fungal diseases can result.


Q. What should my spacing be between trees?
A. Depends on how you will harvest. If you are utilizing a mechanical harvester then you will want a shorter spacing between trees. If combs or handpicking is your preference then wider spacing can be used. Traditional spacing is 30x30, however based on California real estate prices and yield per acre; most groves today are being planted at 15x15 or 18x12.


Q. What types of Olives should I plant in California?
A. It really depends on whether you are planning to produce olive oil or table olives. Generally speaking Manzanillo and Mission olives are primarily curing olives, however the latter is often used to make excellent oil also. There are roughly 187 varietals of olives and it's your choice based on usage and taste.


Q. Can I plant my grove organically?
A. Yes. It is possible to utilize weed block around your trees to stop weeds from choking young trees. It is not necessary to use chemical applications for weeds. Even with a weed blocker you will still have to be prepared to weed your grove.


Q. What type of climate do I need to plant olive trees?
A. A warm climate is preferred with no frost and well-drained soil.


Q. What type of temperatures will olive trees withstand in the winter months?
A. Olive trees will typically withstand temperatures down to 18F, however bark splitting can occur and the trees can take a long time to recover their vigor. Some varietals also withstand lower temperatures than others.


Q. When I prune my trees, how does this affect them?
A. They lose nitrogen and trace elements are lost. Understanding these losses and analyzing leaves etc. is essential.


Q. Is there a source I can go to for events and other information?
A. You may check the COOC web site or cesonoma.ucdavis.edu