Olive Farm Establishment – Olive Tree Planting and Spacing – Number of Olive Trees per Acre
As far as the seedlings are concerned, farmers generally prefer those aged at least 2-3 years. We can of course plant 1 year seedlings, but this will most probably delay our first harvest.
The field selection and preparation is followed by labeling the positions where we will plant the seedlings. We must first decide the exact point where each young tree will be planted and then dig the proper hole with dimensions 20 inches X 20 inches (50 cm X 50 cm). We should note that the seedlings must be planted at the same depth as they were in the nursery. The surface soil of the pit must drop below the ball of the seedling. The planting of seedlings in areas where frost is not reported starts from late fall (November to late February), while in areas with frost the planting starts in early spring, when even the last frosts have passed.
As far as the planting distances between trees are concerned, a 20 X 20 feet (6 X 6 meter) distance is frequently used. This is obviously a square planting system and results in 109 trees per acre or 272 trees per hectare. If the soil is too fertile, planting the olive trees is a denser scheme will result in mutual shadowing. Moreover, the roots of the trees will cross each other and compete. However, there are also other things we should take into consideration when we decide on planting distances, ie. Mechanical harvesting, desired canopy shape etc. Consequently, there is an ongoing debate on the efficiency of dense versus sparse planting system and square, rectangle or line planting systems. The tree population in commercial olive orchards ranges from 150 to over 900 trees per hectare (1 hectare = 2,47 acres = 10.000 square meters).
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8.) Planting Olive Trees
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