The traditional “olive climate” is characterised by mild winters during which monthly temperature never falls below -30C and during which the greater part of the annual precipitation is received. Winter mean daily maximum temperature for June and July (Southern Hemisphere) should not rise above 210C during this period of dormancy, otherwise flower differentiation will be poor. The summers are dry and hot with monthly temperatures rising above 220C and below 300C. The optimum temperatures for flowering, pollination and fertilisation are between 180C and 250C.
A long, sunny, warm summer promotes oil accumulation, fruit growth and fruit colour development. Very high temperature and dry air in early summer may cause excessive dropping of young fruits. Hot dry conditions can promote rapid ripening of fruit, shortening the harvest period. Very hot conditions appear to negatively affect fruit and oil quality of some cultivars. The best oil quality appears to come from mild climates.
Effective sunlight interception and distribution throughout the tree are essential for healthy tress and high yields of good quality fruit. It is imperative that trees receive an optimum amount of sunlight per day throughout the whole tree volume.
Although olives are wind pollinated, both cold damp winds and hot dry winds during bloom can result in poor fruit set. Yet good fruit set is known to occur in the Western Cape despite gale-force winds at the time of blossoming. Olives are less susceptible to wind damage than most other fruits.
Windy conditions during the fruit ripening stage can result in fruit dropping to the ground, resulting in losses and at best rendering such fruit suitable only for oil extraction. Relatively dry winds have a beneficial effect in that they help to keep fungus diseases in check.
– Olive Production in South Africa by Carlo Costa
SA Olive introduces “FOLLOW THE OLIVE”
An in-depth look at the journey our beloved olives take from as early as being planted to the end of their life-cycle… being tasted and enjoyed! We look forward to sharing snippets of fun and fascinating information with you over the course of the year.