The Olive Tree – Adapting to Harsh Climates World-Wide

Olive TreeWhen you think of olive tree groves, your first thought might be how well they seem to thrive in the Mediterranean region, or perhaps Middle Eastern countries like Palestine/Israel. It might come as a surprise then, to hear that some Hawaiian farmers are now growing olive trees. It certainly makes you wonder just how adaptable the olive tree is to different climates around the planet.

Very adaptable, as it turns out. Several farms on the Hawaiian Island of Maui have planted hundreds of olive trees and are looking at the first full production year arriving soon. Now, farmers on the island of Kona are also considering growing the trees.

The olive tree is surprisingly hardy and can adapt to a variety of soil types as well as drought, hot sun and mild salt spray. Even though the trees typically grow shallow roots, they are capable of withstanding moderate winds. These are all ideal characteristics for a plant to thrive in the sometimes harsh Hawaiian climate.

Farmers in Hawaii might consider planting at higher elevations if they expect their trees to produce fruit. Farmers there might also want to consider specific varieties, like the Arbequina from Spain, which produces a small fruit that can be pressed into a very high quality oil. The smaller trees rarely grow beyond 20 feet tall and are capable of fruiting within four years. The semi-dwarf cultivar Arbosana is also a great choice for island farmers. Another tree of Spanish origin, the Arbonsana has an aggressive growth habit and produces medium-sized fruit.

Here at Ancient Olive Trees, we generally recommend a non-fruiting olive tree for landscape purposes. Most of our clients are interested in the beauty and drought-tolerance characteristics of olive trees, but not so interested in the mess created by dropping fruit. Another problem created by fruit not harvested properly and in a timely manner is fruit fly infestations. So it’s important to consult with an expert before deciding what variety of olive tree is appropriate for your home’s landscape.

Our company, Ancient Olive Trees can consult with you or your landscape architect to determine which variety might be most appropriate for your space. Our old grove trees in California offer mature olive trees for sale and we are equipped to transport and properly transplant these beautiful trees to a location of your choosing. Drop by our website at to learn more and to get in touch.