Spanish olives

My Spanish olives, ‘Arbequina’ and ‘Arbosana’, were planted as twigs a few years ago and are now in bloom this year.

Mrclint, healthy tree. any scent of the flowers?

The trees are loaded with flower buds right now. Hoping they smell great when they open. Heck, hoping the fruit tastes great as well. :sunny:

Starting to see some fruitset:

Very nice, Clint. Mine are in bloom right now, too. Interestingly - olive pollen is WAY up there on the allergens list, sadly. I have 20 producing olive trees on my property, but, my allergies are mainly in the fall (California coastal native scrub stuff). Do you collect your olives and process them? There are a couple of places that will either press them for olive oil, or brine them for you. One I think is in Fallbrook.

Patty S.

These trees are pretty young still, so I haven’t let them set a crop yet. This will be the first year. My oldest daughter is a bit of a foodie and is excited about brining them. UCD has a sheet on how to do it.

I should mention that the flowers are not as fragrant as one would expect.

Patty, are your olive trees full sized or are you doing BYOC with them?

Clint, my trees came with the house, so they are very full sized and line the top of my north side of my back yard. That area sort of looks like an ampitheater with these lovely olive trees lining the top perimeter of the north side of my backyard. Haven’t collected the olives - we say we will every year and never get to it. They’re there mainly for their beauty :blush:

Yes, olives are such handsome trees, but they can be pretty messy if the fruit falls to the ground. Understandable not wanting to cut them back or down. I just couldn’t manage full sized trees of any kind ever again.

Clint, these trees were full-sized when we moved in, and are well suited to that size, based on how they function in my landscape. And, dropping any fruits quickly either gets eaten by birds or becomes part of the “mulch” on the slope. Not too worried, as they are there as a backdrop and privacy screen. This is only a portion of them, but I think you can see what I mean:

Gotcha. Very nice setting. Nice drought tolerant plantings as well. :smile:

I wish olives would grow here…I love them. I didn’t know about the allergy issue though…that would be a problem for me. Trees called “Spanish Olives” grow around here in groves in places where the soil has been disturbed. They must be the same since they look identical to the last photo in Mr.Clint’s initial post. They don’t bear anything however, at least as far as I know.

Thanks, Clint. I need to replace my Ceanothus, which, after 12 years, have died. So, will probably replace them with the same, and maybe a couple of Manzanita as well. That slope is just about all drought tolerant California natives and Mediterranean plants. Makes it easy to maintain, so I can spend time on my higher maintenance plantings :slight_smile: Appleseed, unless you are definitely allergic to olives, you have nothing to worry about. I have horrible, terrible, awful seasonal allergies. But, I’m mainly allergic to some of our native California coastal scrub plants that tend to bloom in the fall. And Bermuda grass. Not allergic at all to olives, or I’d be really miserable about now, as olives are blooming.

Hoosier…I’m curious about olives. I always strive to buy all my produce as a product of the USA (except for bananas), but when I buy olives I can never find California grown. Why is that…do you know? Does the entire Cali production get used up on the west coast? I can sometimes find California black olives in the can (my favorite), but even those usually come from Spain or elsewhere. I never see green olives in the jar from Cali, and I always look. I’d be willing to pay a bit more too. Never understood that.

Well, that’s a very interesting question, Appleseed. About 99% of the olives grown in the USA are grown in California. But, worldwide, California olives account for about 1/2% of all olives grown. Spain is the #1 grower of commercial olives, accounting for about 30% of olives grown worldwide. I would venture to say because we Americans were historically demanding other fruits and crops that could be grown in S. and Central California (such as citrus & avocados). Commercial olive growing is centuries old. Commercial olive growing in California started in the 1800’s, about the same time citrus was gaining ground, here. And, there was this huge, huge demand for citrus. Then, on the heels of citrus, avocados. Just think is was a matter of timing and what the marketplace was demanding when those crops started to get a foothold here in California. Here is the interesting part: Both citrus and avocados need a lot of water. So, many commercial orchardists that are still in business here in S. California are removing their citrus and avocado trees, and planting - you guessed it - olive trees. Olive trees use about 1/4 the water of citrus and even less than that compared to avocados. So, you may be seeing more and more “California grown” olives in the next decade or so.

Wow…you are a wealth of information. You answered that question more thoroughly and quickly than could have the California Olive Growers spokesman. Thank you…I’ll keep my eye out.

Well, born and raised California girl, living in the middle of it all. And talking to some of our commercial orchardists here in N. San Diego county, who are the epicenter of commercial avocado growing that has been here for an awfully long time, and those folks making the very difficult decision to cut down those gorgeous avocados, and replace them with olive trees. It’s either that, or go out of business for many of them. Makes for a fair amount of local news, here. Commercial citrus growers are, for the most part, long gone. And, you’re welcome :wink:

‘Arbequina’ fruitlets:

The citrus growers are all gone? Where did they go? Where in Cali are all the oranges and lemons grown? BTW…I spent 4 hours watching vids and reading all about your situation out there with the water. Damn that is a complicated issue on so many fronts. I wish it wouldn’t have to come to desal plants…that’s awful.
I also watched the lady from 60 minutes drink a glass of filtered and treated sewer water. It’s a great idea and cool that that can actually be done but I nearly puked. I done service calls in sewage treatment plants and it is even nastier than one might think. They called it toilet to tap in the video…the guy at the treatment facility said they prefer the name “showers to flowers”…lol.

Appleseed, nearly all the commercial citrus growers have left S. California because the cost of water has driven them out of business. Some have moved out to Indio, or further north to C. California, all in search of less expensive water.

Patty S.

Commercial citrus is long gone in my locale. I think CSUN and Pierce JC may still have some small orchards for historical purposes. Although there were a lot of orchards here in my youth, it was still considered a marginal commercial area compared to the rest of So Cal. Ultimately, the money to be made from selling residential lots far outweighed the value of just about any crop.

Robinson Road Olive Ranch up in Topanga Canyon inspired me to try growing the small Spanish olives. They primarily grow ‘Arbequina’, with ‘Arbosana’ planted as a pollinator.

Market Watch: Olive oil, from the hills of Topanga