How deep do olive tree roots grow

Does Olive Tree Have Invasive Roots?

Trees rely on their roots for stability and to absorb nutrients and water from the soil. But these roots can be a menace for homeowners when they cause disruptions to patio slabs, pavements, or buildings. So, if you are considering growing olive trees, you may want to find out if they have invasive roots. We did research and have come to this conclusion.

Generally, olive trees have slow-growing roots that spread three feet wide and five feet deep. Therefore, they are not classified as invasive roots.

It is important to note that the roots often extend as wide as the tree's crown. So some olive tree varieties may have roots that grow very wide. Therefore, do your due diligence and only plant olive trees that will not prove destructive to your yard.

Keep reading to equip yourself with more knowledge about olive trees. We will tackle their characteristics, how to care for them, and highlight some benefits.

Characteristics of Olive Trees

The term "olive tree" is commonly used to refer to about 35 species of evergreen shrubs and trees of the Oleaceae botanical family and Olea genus. In particular, the name alludes to Olea europaea, an evergreen tree that bears edible fruits.

Olive trees have a great spiritual significance; they symbolize wisdom, glory, power, fertility, and purity. In addition, they represent strength and intelligence.

These are some of their characteristics. 

Vast Root System

Olive trees have a strong tap-root and shallow, wide-spreading roots. The shallow roots are found on the top soil though you can see them above the ground sometimes.

While the tap root is the wellspring of the tree's stability, the shallow roots reinforce its solidity. In addition, the shallow roots absorb most of the moisture for the plant's use. The tap root enables the tree to absorb moisture in drought-like climatic conditions.

The roots of olive trees are slow-growing and spread about three feet wide and five feet deep. Therefore, they are not categorized as invasive roots.

Preventive Measures to Keep Olive Tree Roots From Becoming Invasive

If you grow olive trees as potted plants, you have no cause for concern that the roots will become destructive. But if you decide to plant the trees in your yard, it is prudent to put preventative measures to keep the roots from spreading very wide.

Choose a Suitable Space for the Tree's Size

Considering that the roots of olive trees spread as wide as their canopy, it is advisable to plant them in spaces with sufficient room for the roots to expand as the tree matures.

Plant the trees away from fences, houses, or sewer lines to keep these structures safe. Maintaining a 20 feet of distance between the olive tree and your house is best because some olive trees' roots can spread to about 20 feet at maturity.

The sizes of mature olive trees are pretty diverse. Some trees become gigantic while others remain considerably small.

Therefore, conduct extensive research on the olive tree species you intend to plant to ensure that it is suitable for your yard. The good thing is that you have a vast selection pool.

Trees that do not become too large are ideal for small gardens. These include Arbequina and Nocellara Del Belice olive trees that grow to about 15 feet to 20 feet tall at maturity. Alternatively, you can plant dwarf olive tree species that measure 8 feet to 10 feet tall.

Use Root Barriers

Root barriers re-direct root growth, causing the tree roots to grow downwards instead of sideways. So they allow you to plant olive trees near structures since the tree's roots will not grow horizontally and damage them.

Root barriers made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), fiberglass, or metal are impermeable. You can spray these barriers with a growth inhibitor to improve their success level.

Some root barriers are made of mesh. Because these barriers are permeable, they do not work as efficiently as the impermeable ones.

See this tree root barrier on Amazon.

Tenacious and Resilient

Olive trees can spring back to life after a fire. The tree's dormant buds increase its regeneration capacity.

If a partial fire scorches the tree, you only need to clean or remove the damaged sections of the trunk and nourish the soil with rich nutrients that the tree can quickly assimilate. The tree then self-heals.

If the fire causes more extensive damage, you may need to cut down the tree and leave a stub just above ground level. Over time, the tree will sprout again from the branches that shoot up from the stump. Prune the new growth over the years to aid the branch in becoming a tree with its trunk.

Olive trees with a well-established root system can survive prolonged droughts and extreme weather conditions. In addition, these trees can withstand various pests and diseases.

While the tree can withstand unfavorable weather, these conditions can adversely affect its yield.

Suppose the plant fails to receive adequate water and nutritional supplies six weeks before flowering. In that case, it can thwart fruit formation since it lacks enough resources to carry on with the flowering process.


The olive tree foliage remains green through the seasons. The leaves are feather-shaped and grow opposite one another along a twig. They are silvery green in color, with a pale underside and dull topside.

The tree sheds and replaces its leaves every two or three years. The shedding and new leaf growth occur simultaneously in the spring.

Changing Growth Patterns

Young olive trees have smooth bark, while the bark of mature trees has high ridges and deep fissures. In addition, the tree grows twisted over time as the trunk's growth pattern changes. Furthermore, the bark in mature trees sheds in thin scale-like plates.

Produce Small Ovular Fruits

Typically, olive trees start bearing fruit after four years. They produce fruits that have thick, meaty-textured flesh and very thin skin.

Often, the fruits are green when unripe and turn blackish-purple when ripe. But some varieties remain green even when ripe, and some become copper-brown when ripe. 

Generally, raw olives are unpalatable since they are very bitter. You can make them enjoyable by curing or fermenting them.

How to Care for Olive Trees Indoors

Ideally, it would be best to plant olive trees in the yard. These trees require pollination to produce fruit.

Most varieties require cross-pollination for them to bear good quality fruits. Often, the agents of pollination are insects or the wind, both of which are found in substantial quantities outside.

But some species thrive when self-pollinating. Self-pollination is plausible since olive trees produce male flowers and flowers with male and female characteristics.

The male flower produces pollen, while fertilization occurs in the female parts of the flower. Fruit production occurs after fertilization.

That said, because olive trees are quite adaptable, your tree can still thrive as an indoor plant if you take good care of it. Buying an olive species that can do well indoors increases its chances of survival.

It is important to note that indoor olive trees do not live as long as those grown in the yard. In addition, olive trees grown indoors rarely reach maturity. You can transplant the trees outside when indoor conditions no longer favor healthy development. 

Taking good care of your olive trees improves the quality and increases the yield of olives. These pointers will guide you in taking care of your olive tree indoors.

Expose to Adequate Sunlight

Strategically position the olive tree next to a window where it can receive at least six to eight hours of sunlight. Be careful to leave a considerable distance between the tree and window glass; intensified sunlight can burn the leaves.

Water Consistently

Plant olive trees in well-draining soil and water the plant weekly for the first year after planting.

Alternatively, you can use the touch test to determine when you should water the plant to avoid overwatering your olive tree. Water your tree when the top 2 inches of soil feel dry. 

Once the tree becomes well established, you can reduce the number of times you water your tree to once a month. When watering the tree monthly, you may need to soak the soil and let the excess water flow through the drainage holes.

Also, allow enough time between watering for the soil to dry.

You can also periodically nourish the soil with a balanced house-plant fertilizer to keep your plant well fed. Add the fertilizer twice a month in spring and summer, then reduce it to once a month in the slow-growing seasons of autumn and winter.

Prune Periodically

Although olive trees are slow growing, they may eventually outgrow their space inside your home. For this reason, it is advisable to prune their tips to maintain them at a manageable size. 

Pruning also ensures that the foliage receives sufficient light and air. Thus, your tree maintains a full, bushy shape.

You may also need to repot the plant annually to ensure that the tree has enough room to grow as it expands.  

What are the Benefits of Farming Olive Trees?

Olive fruits are pressed to produce olive oil, which is used in many dishes worldwide. In addition, olive fruits contain healthy fats, antioxidants, and fiber. So you can enjoy these fruits as a delicious snack when you treat them. 

Olive trees are also a source of highly prized wood. Because of its slow-growing nature, the tree has very close-grained and attractive timber. Olive tree wood is used to make decorative items, woodenware, or fine furniture.

The trees also make beautiful ornamental trees due to their evergreen foliage and attractive spring flowers.

In Conclusion

The most effective way to make sure that olive tree roots do not become invasive is by choosing a suitable tree for your space.

Additionally, leave enough room between your tree and structures such as houses, fences, and pavements to accommodate possible root expansion since the roots spread in proportion to the canopy size.

You may also be interested in these topics:

Why Is My Olive Tree Dying? [And What To Do About It]

11 Evergreen Shrubs With Non Invasive Roots

Olive Tree Information - Wikifarmer


The olive tree is a perennial, evergreen tree that can live and produce olives for more than a century. In some rare cases, olive trees have been reported to live and produce sprouts at an age of 1800 years old. The tree reaches a height 15-65 ft. (5-20 meters). As it happens with most trees, the height of the tree is affected by the vividness of the subject or of the variety, the soil and climate conditions, and finally the cultivation methods used. The trunk is cylindrical, smooth on young trees and bumpy in older, because lumps of varying size appear as the time goes by.

The root system of the olive trees develops vertically until the third to fourth year of its life. Later on, the original root system is replaced by another flocculent root system, produced mainly by spheroblasts or conger, formed in the olive tree neck, just below the soil surface. The root system development method is mainly determined by the nature of the soil. In some cases, it is reported that olive trees developed roots, which had reached 40 ft. (12 meters) in width and 20 ft. (6 meters) in depth.

Olive trees are cultivated globally in an area covering more than 15 million hectares. The number of cultivated olive trees reaches and maybe exceeds the stunning number of 1 billion. About 80% of these trees are located in the Mediterranean region. Countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece, Tunisia and others traditionally export olive oil, which is the cornerstone of the agricultural economic development and sustainability of some of those countries. However, other countries such as USA, Australia, Japan, China etc. have during the last two decades realized the huge economic and strategic importance of olive trees. Thus, they have given financial motives to olive growers, in an effort to become autonomous in olive products.

The olive tree plays a very important role, because not only does it utilize land that is unsuitable for other crops, but also helps to protect the soil from erosion. The main products produced by olive tree are olive oil and table olives. The pomace of olives is also important for industrial use. Some other by-products that may have economic importance are the leaves, wood, core etc. Finally, olive trees are often grown in pots indoors or outdoors as ornamental.

The genus Olea includes 30 different species, which are cultivated in five continents. The most important of these are: Olea europea. L., subspecies euromediterranea, Olea europea. L., subspecies cuspidate Vall, Cif, Olea europea. L., subspecies laperrini Batt and Trab, Olea chrysophylla Lamk, Olea hochstetteri, Olea somaliensis, Olea subtrinervata

You can enrich this article by leaving a comment or photo of your olive trees.

1.) Olive Tree Information & Uses

2.) Growing Olive Trees

3.) Are Olive Farms profitable?

4.) Olive Tree Alternate Bearing

5.) Olive Tree Propagation & Pollination

6. ) Olive Tree Climate – Temperature Requirements

7.) Olive Tree Soil Requirements

8.) Planting Olive Trees

9.) Olive Tree Fertilizer Requirements

10.) Olive Tree Water Requirements

11.) Olive Tree Pruning

12.) Harvesting Olives

13.) Olive Trees Diseases and Pests

14.) Q&As Olive Trees

Do you have experience in Olive Tree cultivation? Please share your experience, methods and practices in the comments below. All the content you add will be soon reviewed by our agronomists. Once approved, it will be added to and it will influence positively thousands of new and experienced farmers across the world.

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Oliva. Trunk and roots | nature of Israel

The road leads down the cliff,

Where the grass has fallen on its knees

And wild olive ghosts,

Putting horns on stones,

They froze like a herd of deer.

Arseny Tarkovsky

Well, first of all, let's start with terminology. Olive and olive are synonyms. The name olive came to European languages ​​from Latin - olea. Vegetable oil in Latin is oleum, a word from the same root. And the Russian name for olive is just a translation, since olive trees are grown to produce oil. The content of which in fruits is very high - up to 30%.

The homeland of the olive tree is the eastern Mediterranean, that is, our region. In our country, the olive has been cultivated since time immemorial. In any case, the age of the oldest oil press, found near the village of Atlit, is over 6000 years old.

Olive tree

The olive tree is the second tree mentioned in the Bible. We do not know what type the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which appeared first in the text of Scripture, belonged to. But the olive is already named after its kind. It was the olive branch that was brought to Noah by a dove as a sign of the end of the Flood. Life on earth began again, and the olive branch became a symbol of peace and prosperity.

Peace Dove Picasso. Wikipedia

The olive tree is well adapted to dry climates. (read in the article "Climate of Israel"). For six months - from April to October - we have no precipitation at all. Heavy rains come only in winter. And only in winter can the olive be saturated with water, which is necessary for the ripening of oil-bearing fruits during the long hot summer. It is for the accumulation of water near the olive that a very complex structure of wood develops with mounds, growths, and veins.

Complex olive stem

Olive trees can grow both in valleys and on rocky mountain slopes. Trees growing on terraces with a soil depth of only half a meter develop a powerful surface root system. And these branched roots actively prevent soil erosion by keeping it from being washed away by stormy rainwater. See the ancient terraces of the Jerusalem mountains. Once they were all covered with olive groves, which gave a bountiful harvest. (article "Terraces of the Jerusalem Mountains")

Terraces of the Jerusalem Mountains

Olive is a long-lived tree. Its age can be hundreds and thousands of years. Up to 50 years, annual rings are visible at the trunk. And then this order is broken. The fact is that each new branch of the olive lets its own separate root into the ground, which feeds it. A new shoot grows outside to the mother trunk. Therefore, the trunk becomes complex, multi-connected, intertwined. And it is absolutely impossible to determine the age of a tree by annual rings. It can only be estimated very roughly. The most common method of radiocarbon analysis for the isotope C 14 does not apply to olives, since carbon atoms are constantly replaced in living wood. And if you take dry wood for analysis, then as a result of this analysis, you can only find out exactly when the analyzed part died, and not at all the age of the tree. Which will surely be much more. An indirect method for determining the age of an olive is to estimate it by the size of the trunk. But, like any method based on extrapolation, it is not very reliable.

Oliva from the village of Aho Vouves in Crete. Wikipedia

Scientists consider this Cretan olive one of the oldest in the world. The diameter of its trunk is more than 4.5 meters. According to various estimates, the age of this olive is from 2000 to 4000 years. Dating was carried out according to the archaeological excavations adjacent to the olive tree and the ancient cemetery, which is more than 2000 years old. (Wikipedia).

Quite often the question arises about the age of the olive trees growing in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem, the site of Jesus' last prayer. The temptation to say that these trees saw Himself is very great. However, in this case, we would have sinned against the truth. The point is that in 109In the year 9, the crusaders approached Jerusalem. They besieged the city for two months, although they were completely unprepared for this and did not take any siege equipment with them. Therefore, they cut down all the trees around the Jerusalem walls for the manufacture of battering rams, catapults and ladders, as well as for firewood for cooking. And therefore, the olives of the Garden of Gethsemane cannot possibly be older than 920 years. But they probably grew from the roots of much more ancient trees.

Ancient olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jerusalem. (photo: Stanislav Ogurtsov)

By the way, the Franciscan monks gave the dry wood of the olive trees of the Garden of Gethsemane for radiocarbon analysis. And they received an answer that this wood is about 900 years old. This confirms the hypothesis about the age of these trees.

As the olive ages, the core will gradually rot. All ancient olives are hollow inside. But, as the Roman historian Pliny wrote, the olive never dies. The life of the tree continues in the outer layers.

Hollow olive

The olive annually throws out new branches, strengthens with new roots. And in fact it turns out that its roots are immortal. These roots need a lot of air. Olive owners know that if a tree does not bear fruit well, it is necessary to loosen the soil around the roots, and soon the yield will be restored. And if a tree is cut down or it dies in a fire, new shoots grow quickly enough from intact roots.

Dried olive and new shoots from its roots

Each such offspring is called נצר (netser) in Hebrew. It is from this word that a small town in the mountains of Galilee Nazareth got its name. The name sounds prophetic. After all, it was here that the Archangel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary the birth of the Son of God. Here Jesus grew up and formed His teaching. Here, from the ancient root of Judaism, a new fruitful branch sprouted - Christianity.

Annunciation. El Greco. Wikipedia

The inhabitants of Nazareth were called "Notzrim" in Hebrew. This is what Christians are called to this day. Remember Bulgakov's great novel The Master and Margarita. Jesus' name is Yeshua ha-Nozri, that is, Jesus of Nazareth. However, the whole world knows this city under a slightly different name. The fact is that the New Testament is written in Greek, in which there is no “ts” sound. Therefore, the Greek name of the city - "Nazareth" - entered into all languages. (more details in the article "Nazareth. Holy Family")

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Olive tree - encyclopedia ITLV

Oddly enough, the olive belongs to the same family as the lilac, ash and privet, the Oleaceae family. The species tamed by man was named Olea europaea, European olive. Olea europaea also includes the wild olive tree, which bears fruits similar to olives, but not as fleshy.

Thanks to its indomitable ability to reproduce, the olive has become a symbol of longevity: if after a fire even a small piece remains from a tree (except for leaves), then in a few days it will give new sprouts. And if you do not touch it, it can stand up to several hundred years!

Fruiting period

The olive tree bears fruit unevenly, i. e. if in one year it bears many fruits, next year there will be less. Although, of course, for a tree that “actively” lives for about 150 years, this is not important. In fact, the olive tree begins to bear fruit 5-10 years after planting and, although it bears fruit during the growing period, at “mature age” (between 35 and 150 years) the yield of olives increases dramatically. Having lived for a century and a half, the tree grows old and begins to bear fruit intermittently, although it does not finally stop bearing fruit throughout its life, which can last for millennia.

The olive is not picky about the soil, but loves the sun and water - the more you water the tree, the more oil will be contained in its fruits. An evergreen olive tree begins to bear fruit only at the age of 10-12 years, but then in each crop it brings 20-40 kilograms of fruit from one tree. Olives picked directly from the branch are bitter and inedible due to their high content of the glycoside substance okuropein. Canned olives are better absorbed, and their systematic use, according to doctors, protects against diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.

How many Olympiads can one olive see?

Organizers of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens have removed 600-year-old olive trees from the ground that were growing on the site of the construction of an equestrian sports complex. However, centenarians were not allowed for firewood. Thanks to the support of the public, it was decided to remove the trees from the ground, and then, after the completion of the construction of the complex, plant them again in the ground. Therefore, taking an olive out of a jar with a fork, think about the fact that your great-great-great-great-grandfather could pick fragrant fruits from the same tree.

Burning Olive

Since ancient times, the olive has been considered the progenitor of all trees and a symbol of life. This tree, according to popular belief, carried out a mystical connection between heaven and earth.

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