The early spring and late fall are the two ideal times for planting olive trees. As long as there is enough water available the olive trees can be planted any time of the year, except when frost is expected. The roots must be healthy and after planting, the tree should be watered and the soil should be covered with straw to keep the moist.
Fertilizers are not of need for the newly planted olive trees, because during the first year their need of nutrients is minimal. When the vegetative cycle starts, then fertilizers should be applied.
In Greece growers apply well composed animal manures and fertilizers, according to the need of the olive tree. This is determined based on olive leaf analysis, to find out the correct balance of the macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients in the olive tree. When manure and fertilizers are applied, if the olive trees are not watered, the effect is minimal.
Olive trees planted for table olive production, are cultivated in such a way to accomodate hand picking of the olives. The goal is for the crop to be in a level that the picker can reach. This can be accomplished by pruning the tree. Accelerated pruning the first 5 to 7 years should be avoited, because it can result in the delaying of the production.
When the olive trees are planted, they should be cut to an about 80 cm height, so the tree can develop side branches around the main trunk. The lower the side branches, the easier the olive tree will develop, a round bushy shape. Other advantages of the bushy shaped trees are an earlier fruiting and a higher yield.
The olive trees take nutrients from the soil through their roots, and from solutions sprayed on them. Soils usually contain enough amounts of nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, phosphorus, sulfur, nitrogen, etc. Nitrogen is very essential for the vegetative growth and fruit production. Nitrogen is found in manure, and clay soils contain potassium.
In the abscence of nutrients, the addition of lime, increases the availability of them. When olive trees have nutritional dificiencies, they develop abnormalities. Adequate nutrition results to a good production of olive fruit and prevents fungal diseases.