Although olive trees can survive dry conditions, irrigation is strongly recommended for table olive production to encourage a higher yield, regular cropping and the production of large sized fruit with a high flesh to pit ratio. During the fruit swelling stage, irrigation increases fruit volume considerably, while late summer drought reduces fruit size and flesh to stone ratio. Although individual fruit may have a lower oil percentage under irrigation, oil yield per tree is higher. Irrigation is seldom employed for oil olives once the trees have become well established.
About 1000 mm of water is required per year including rainfall. In the Western Cape rainfall occurs in winter and amounts to about 400 – 800mm per year. Most water is required in summer, with peak demand in February. Efficient irrigation application through dripper systems and the use of probes, help to reduce water use.
Claims have been made that olive trees can grow in any soil provided that it is well drained. Olives are indeed tolerant of poor soils but growth and yields suffer under such conditions. Olives are especially sensitive to waterlogged soils. Olive trees thrive on stony soils as long as soil depth is not less than about 1 m as it may drastically reduce the soil’s water holding capacity.
– 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.