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Soil Preparation

 Olives are favored worldwide due to their tasty pickled fruits and high-quality oil. It is undoubtedly that the detestable olive has for several years, remained as medicine and food. Commercial cultivation of olives began as early as five thousand years ago. A mature olive tree can live up to two thousand years. With this feature, olives have been cultivated for several generations.

 

The olives establish grayish green foliage that are silvery in appearance. The trees can stay green even in harsh weather conditions including frosts, cold and the scorching sun. In addition, the trees can resist salt spray and high winds. Their growth and durability make the trees a fancy for most landscape architects. The trees have long been used suitably for landscaping even in a worse state scenario of sites.

 

The trees make an eye-catchy appearance in any themed courtyard. However, they can also be a hardy tree in a minimal effort orchard. The trees are easy to grow and maintain and do not require an expert gardener in order to meet their requirements. 

Orchard set-up for growing olives should begin approximately six months before planting the seedlings. However, the following points should be considered in soil preparation for the olives.

 

Soil type

Olives tolerate a wide variety of soil conditions and can naturally do well in neutral to alkaline soil types. However, they can establish poorly in acidic soil types. For the trees to do well in acidic soils, the soil pH should be regulated to optimal levels of seven to eight. It can be done by applying fertilizers like agricultural lime. You should enquire from your local fertilizer manufacturers to have your appropriate proportions worked out. Some lime suppliers also provide useful information on how to apply correct proportions of lime on the olive growing soils. 

 

Olives do not do well in heavy soils that tend to hold more water immediately after wet weather conditions. The trees do well in rocky and hilly areas considered unsuitable for other crop types. For proper soil preparation, it is important to know the pH, structure and soil type because once the trees are planted, very little can be done to change the land drainage and other primary factors.

 

Fencing

For effective soil preparation, fencing is necessary. It should be done to prevent any animal from trampling on the ground in the orchard set-up. Moreover, while applying fertilizer to the soil, some small creatures can make burrows and eventually munch the olives once they begin to grow. Fencing of the proposed orchard set-up is worth the effort. 

Soil pH

Various fruit types establish well in slightly acidic soil conditions. However, olives require a minimum soil pH of 6.5 and should be regulated to levels of 6.5-8. For slightly acidic soils, it can be done by applying right proportions of lime. The proportions vary from one soil type to another depending on the soil structure and pH. Lime is to be implemented before cultivating the trees. 

Soil drainage

For very shallow soil types, mounding of the olive tree rows is highly recommended to improve the soil drainage. Moreover, the mounds help to increase the depth of soil. Diversion drains can also be set-up at the top of the orchard site. However, you should note that the trees prefer light soils. Establishing of larger molds could kill the crops instead, especially during rainy seasons.

 

Organic materials

Green manure crops help the olive trees to establish fully to maturity. The soil should be prepared with green manure six months prior to the planting season in order to improve the organic content of the soil in the orchard set-up. The organic materials hold the land together enhancing its compactness that helps the soil to improve drainage and to prevent soil erosion. The green manure crops, mainly the vegetative materials, are slashed and mulched on the ground in the orchard set-up for a period of one month before planting to improve the soil fertility.

 

Soil preparation prior to planting season of the olive trees is highly recommended. However, it is important to note that the trees require cold winter conditions to facilitate their flowering and fruiting during the spring. They also need to be cultivated appropriately depending on the soil type. For example, for soils with less than one meter of topsoil, the trees should be ripped deeply, approximately to a depth of forty-five centimeters, to improve drainage.

 

Sources 

http://www.oliveaustralia.com.au/About_Olive_Trees/about_olive_trees.html

http://www.daleysfruit.com.au/newsletter/november2003.htm

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