Trees for Mediterranean Landscaping
Ideas for landscaping with olive trees
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See how this modern landscape incorporates several mature olive trees.
I love everything about the Mediterranean - the climate, the people, the history, and especially the landscapes. One of the iconic Mediterranean plants that I am incredibly fond of is the Olive tree. There's something magical about the gnarled trunk and silvery green leaves that draws me in. It must have a similar effect on others because the olive branch has been used as a symbol of abundance, glory, and peace for many generations. However, beyond liking the way they look and understanding the symbolism, I know very little about olive trees. So, I decided I'd learn all about them and share my findings with you.
Olive trees are especially successful in the coastal areas of California because the climate is so similar to that of the tree's native Mediterranean. They are evergreen trees that can grow to be 25 feet tall and 25 feet wide. Olive trees grow well on hillsides, provide a considerable amount of shade when full grown, and look great lining a driveway. If you plan to use olive trees as part of your landscaping, you'll probably want a fruitless variety, such as Majestic Beauty, Swan Hill or Wilsonii. Once they reach maturity, olive trees are drought, disease and fire-resistant. They are also quite water efficient - a monthly deep watering will suffice. Because they are so hardy, many olive trees will live to be hundreds, or even thousands, of years old. Due to their unique root system, even the oldest of olive trees can be successful transplanted to your yard.
Olive trees are available in a variety of sizes and maturities. Young olive trees are sold in 15" boxes and will cost around $85. However, olive trees are slow maturing, so it will take many years for a young tree to grow to its full size. You can also purchase olive trees in 24", 36", 48" and 60" boxes. The 60" inch size is a mature olive tree and thus costs a lot more - expect to pay around $1,800.
There are a variety of companies that grow, sell and deliver olive trees. Because of their size, there may be delivery limitations - mature olive tree delivery requires heavy machinery, sometimes even a crane, and can often be costly. Check with any of these companies for details:
- The Olive Tree Farm in Sonoma, CA - offers fruit-bearing and fruitless
- Growquest in Santa Paula, CA - offers fruit-bearing and fruitless
- Ellis Farms in San Diego County, CA - offers Wilsonii fruitless
- Ancient Olive Trees in Tiburon, CA - specializes in mature, fruit-bearing trees
I've always loved the look for olive trees, but now that I've learned about their many benefits of olive trees I'm going to start saving up for a medium sized olive tree of my own. The only problem now is where to plant it...
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Sarah Hutchinson, contributing writer for Landscaping Network