How long olive tree can live

All you ever wanted to know about olive trees which are thousands of years old - Masia el Altet

You’ll find all you ever wanted to know about olive trees which are thousands of years old in this post.  We’ll tell you how long they can live with practical examples and the impressive measurements some of them have.  We also have magnificent examples here in Spain.

Have you ever asked yourself why they can live for so long? You’ll also find the answer here.

At Masía El Altet, we’re also really happy to have ones that are hundreds of years old.  We’ll tell you what varieties they belong to.

We’ll talk a bit about the productivity of these trees.

And finally, we’ll invite you to go on a spectacular route to see olive trees. Carry on reading because we’re sure you’re going to love this post about olive trees which are thousands of years old.

How long can olive trees which are thousands of years old live for?

To illustrate this section, about how long olive trees which are thousands of years old can live for, we’re going to talk about two of the most famous trees in the world.

It’s supposed that the oldest olive tree in the world is to be found in Bethlehem, in the village of Al Walaja to be more precise.  Experts from Europe and Japan have determined the existence of an olive tree which is between 4,000 and 5,000 years old. This tree has been named Al Badawi, which means ‘The Great One’.

The Great One is 12 metres high and 25 metres in diameter.  One of the characteristics of olive trees which are thousands of years old is their great dimensions.

Let’s travel to Spain, to a place called Ulldecona in the province of Tarragona, on the border between Catalonia and the Valencian Community.  Here, an olive tree has been dated as being more than 1,700 years old. The name it’s been given is the Farga de Arion and was planted in the year 314 during the rule of the emperor Constantine.

There exist a huge number of olive trees that are hundreds of years old and ones that are  thousands  of  years old.   Their life expectancy is 2,000 years on average. And you can be sure that many more don’t exist simply because of what Man has done, removing them from their natural habitat to make money from them due to their decorative qualities, which are also many.

Why do olive trees which are thousands of years old live so long?

The answer to this question might perhaps surprise you. Olive trees can reach those two thousand years or more because they’re trees which grow slowly. In this sense, they’re similar to the oak, beech or redwood which, even though they come from different families, it’s not surprising to find examples more than a thousand years old.

On the other hand, the olive tree is a very intelligent fruit tree: when the temperature during the summer months rises above 30 degrees Centigrade and relative humidity falls to less than 20%, the olive tree closes its stomas through which it breathes and works at 30% of its full capacity. Due to that, it doesn’t suffer in the slightest and can increase its lifespan.

What however musn’t be forgotten is the the olive tree is a tree which is to be found in the  Mediterranean Region  and it’s not a slow growing tree because it suffers from cold or because of adverse climatic conditions but because in this Meditrranean Region which stretches from Israel to the Iberian Peninsula, the ground in which it grows is very poor in nutrients.

It’s for this reason that the olive tree can’t grow more quickly.  You only have to put it to the test. If you take an olive tree, water it and look after it carefully, you’ll notice its growth year after year.  But if you don’t do this, many decades will need to pass before it turns into a wonderful specimen.

Olive trees that are hundreds of years old at Masía El Altet

The olive trees which are thousands of years old and to be found here and there in the Mediterranean Region constitute a natural heritage which deserves to be protected.

At Masía El Altet, we don’t have olive trees which are thousands of years old but what we do have are some trees which are more than 200 years old of the Alfafarenca, Blanqueta and Genovesa varieties which we use to produce the coupage of our extra virgin olive oils considered by many specialists as one of the best extra virgin olive oils in the world.

Whatever their age, we are more than aware of the importance of the role the tree plays in achieving an excellent quality olive, the raw material for our extra virgin olive oil and for that reason, we give them all the care and attention they need.

A clear example of this is when it comes to pruning.  Our trees are only pruned by expert hands who know their work to perfection and just after the olives are picked in the month of November. In this way, our olive trees can continue to grow vigorously offering olives of the highest quality.

Productivity and quality in olive trees that are thousands of years old

Having said this, at what age do olive trees produce their best? From our experience, the most productive olive trees are those which are between 30 and 40 years old.

At least they are the ones which have the best average productivity. For olive trees which grow without irrigation, a 100 year-old olive tree normally produces more than it did when it was only 60 years old.

In the case of olive trees which receive irrigation, as is the case at Masía El Altet, the most productive period is reached when the tree is between 50 and 65 years old.

So in summary, we can say that olive trees between 5 and 100 years old are the most productive and which also offer the best quality.  From that age onwards, both productivity and quality decrease. It’s as if the tree had become somewhat sluggish.

(This information has been taken from

A fantastic natural heritage: the route of the olive trees

It’s a fantastic natural heritage. For that reason, in this final part of the post, we’d like to encourage you, when you have the opportunity, to go on a route of the olive trees

One of the best is to be found between the Valencian Community, Catalonia and Aragon.   It’s called the Sénia Route.

In total, there are 27 towns (15, Valencian, 3 Aragonese and 9 Catalonian) which share geography, language and culture.

A great opportunity to get to know a little more about olive trees, a tree which is rich in the roots of our Mediterranean culture.  If you’d like more information about this route, click here.

That’s all we wanted to tell you about olive trees which are thousands of years old.  Why they live so long, where the most spectacular are to be found, what their productivity is. We hope you’ve enjoyed this post.  And if you have, would you share it on your social networks? We’d love you to do so.

How Long Do Olive Trees Live?

An olive tree will usually have a life expectancy of around 500 years. While this is the average, some olive cultivars can live far longer than this. Examples of olive trees living hundreds or even thousands of years beyond this average are not uncommon. Ancient olive trees have been discovered that are over 2,000 years old.

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How Many Years Do Olive Trees Produce?

Olive trees will engage in olive production for most of their lives. It takes 7-8 years to reach the mature tree stage at which point it will begin fruit production. After this, it takes 65-80 years for the tree to reach stable yields. 

  • Olive trees bear fruit for most of their lives after a short maturation period.
  • A 100 year-old olive tree will have stable fruit yields.
  • Trees will begin to decrease in fruit production each year until they near the end of their average life expectancy.

Once stable yields have been reached, olive production begins to decrease over time. At some point your tree will stop producing olives entirely. Typically this will happen around 500 years of age, shortly before the tree dies. However, some elderly trees can be made productive again through grafting.

How Can You Tell How Old an Olive Tree Is?

Without expensive scientific tools, it’s close to impossible to gauge the age of olive trees without cutting them down. Scientifically, you can use radiometric dating to tell exactly how old a tree is. However, this requires both specialized instruments and a tree’s heartwood. If a tree’s heartwood is gone, it is impossible to figure out the age through radiometric dating.

  • The only surefire ways to tell a tree’s age are to cut it down and count the tree rings or use radiometric dating.
  • You can estimate the tree’s age by measuring the trunk circumference and the annual rate of trunk growth.

However, you can estimate tree age using two factors. First, you’ll need the circumference of the trunk. Second, you’ll need to measure how much the trunk grows each year. Once you have these factors, you can estimate how long ago the tree was a seedling. It’s not the most precise method and it requires much patience and waiting to get the necessary factors. However, it is the only method available to a layman without cutting down the tree.

Do Olive Trees Live Forever?

Olive trees don’t live forever but they are exceptionally long-lived. Archaeological evidence from the Mediterranean region suggests that these trees can and have lived exceptionally long lives. Due to plant hardiness and an ideal climate, a healthy tree can easily thrive for centuries. Because olives have been farmed by humans for eons, there is an incentive to increase their average lifespan. 

  • Nothing lives forever, but olive trees can be some of the oldest trees in the world.
  • Olive tree cultivation has resulted in hardy plants that live incredible lifespans.

Olive tree cultivation dates back to well before the 20th century BCE and these trees have been extremely useful ever since. Olive trees have been vital both for fruit and also for olive oil production. Any cook can tell you that virgin olive oil is one of the go-to oils for any serious kitchen.

Can Olive Trees Live 2,000 Years?

It is extremely unlikely, but there are documented cases of olive trees that have lived to 2,000 years old. Average olive groves won’t produce 2,000-year-old trees with any regularity though. Rather, 2,000-year-old trees appear to be a rare exception.

  • 2,000 years is a possible lifespan for olive trees but it is very rare.
  • Providing the ideal growing conditions for olive trees ensures a long lifespan.

To ensure your olive tree lives as long as possible, you’ll need to provide ideal growing conditions. This means lots of dry, chalky soil and access to full sun (6 hours of direct sunlight each day). Additionally, olive trees need weekly waterings and balanced fertilizer. By providing these needs, you will give your tree the best chance of living a long, healthy life.

What is the Oldest Olive Tree in the World?

The olive tree of Vouves has been confirmed by tree ring analysis to be around 2,000 years old. Its exact age is impossible to know because its heartwood has been lost over time. This makes radiometric dating (the most accurate dating) impossible to employ. Heartwood is the oldest part of the tree but is not vital to the tree’s survival. Once the heartwood has rotted away or been removed, you can no longer date back to the tree’s infancy. 

  • The oldest living olive tree is in Vouves, Greece at 2,000 or so years old.
  • This ancient olive tree still produces olives to this day thanks to a graft.

The Vouves olive tree actually remains active and continues to bear fruit to this day. This is due to having had another olive cultivar grafted onto it. The energy provided by this younger olive plant helps to keep this ancient tree healthy and productive.

How Long Do Olive Trees Last?

An olive can live for up to 2,000 years. However, most olive trees will only live for around 500 years. Some fascinating facts about olive tree aging are:

  • An olive fruit tree will typically live for around 500 years.
  • It’s extremely difficult to tell the age of a tree without cutting it down and counting the tree rings.
  • Olive trees don’t live forever but do sometimes reach incredible ages—up to 2,000 years old.
  • The oldest living adult olive tree is the olive tree of Vouves.

Although your olive tree may not like to be 2,000, with the right care you can set it up for success. It may live for centuries, producing delicious olives well into the future.

How long does an olive tree live?

Image - Wikimedia / David Brühlmeier

The olive tree, scientifically named Olea Europaea , is an evergreen fruit tree native to the Mediterranean region and cultivated in all warm temperate regions of the world. In addition to producing such delicious olives, this species has become more and more beautiful over time.

Scars, cracks and even holes left by some birds and insects make the old trunk of this tree spectacular. We can tell it has a long lifespan just by looking at it, but... How long does an olive tree live?


  • 1 What is your life expectancy?
  • 2 What is the oldest olive tree in the world?
  • 3 How long does an olive tree grow in a year?
    • 3. 1 What is the length of the roots of a mature olive tree?

What is your life expectancy?

árboles which are slow growing, such as oak, las sequoia or beech, although they are very different from each other, they have something in common: they can live for over a thousand years In fact, to give us an idea of ​​how long they can be, giant sequoia specimens have been found that are 3,200 years old. Much more than any animal. But there are no oak or beech resources in our main tree.

Olive , a native tree of the Mediterranean, It grows not because of the cold, but because the annual rainfall is so low and the soil is so poor in nutrients that it simply cannot grow faster. . When grown in a pot or in a fertilized garden, the plant does look noticeably larger year after year, but if left to its own devices, it will take several decades to grow into a wonderful specimen.

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However, their lifespan is just as staggering: around 3,000 years. . Yes, yes, three thousand years. Incredible age for an evergreen tree.

What is the oldest olive tree in the world?

In Spain we have "La Farga de Arion", a specimen found in the city of Uldecona in Tarragona, which was planted in 314 by order of Emperor Constantine I (306-337 AD), who, hence over 1700 years old. In addition, a 2310-year-old baby is growing on the island of Menorca; And we have another remarkable thing in our country: Approximately 20 km north of Lisbon, a 2850-year-old man was found. But... even they are young compared to others in the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of the world.

Leaving Spanish territory and heading to Portugal, we find one known as Mouchao olive tree, which is about 3350 years old according to researcher José Luis Lusada of UTAD (University of Trás os Montes). Its height is 3.2 meters, and the trunk is very thick, with a perimeter of 11 meters.

But we need to go to Palestine to see the oldest olive tree in the world. The city of Bethlehem is said to have been inhabited for 4,000 to 5,000 years.

How much does an olive tree grow in a year?

The olive tree is a tree that grows slowly, but if the climatic and soil conditions are adequate and it receives water every time it needs it, in its youth and especially. During the first two years of life (from seed) it will grow at a good rate, about 40 centimeters per year.

From the third and, most importantly, the fifth year, he will begin to slow down, so it is normal for him to increase his height by about 30 centimeters per season. As soon as it blooms for the first time, which it will do in about five years, its growth will slow down even more.

When it reaches its final height, it will continue to expend energy to thicken its trunk and produce branches, flowers, and fruit. but not in continued vertical growth. On the other hand, it is important to know that the development of its roots will continue, which brings me to the next question:

How long are the roots of an adult olive tree?

Image - Wikimedia / Vicenç Salvador Torres Gerola

The roots of Mediterranean trees are usually very long and deep. Drought is such a serious problem that it can take months for it to rain again (for example, in my area it usually takes five to six months to get back to normal). Therefore, it is very important that the roots grow strongly in order to be able to reach an area with some moisture.

Therefore, when planting an olive tree in the garden It must be taken into account that it can have roots that grow up to 12 meters horizontally. and about 6 meters vertically into the ground.

Did you know that olive trees can live that long?

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Olive tree at home, cultivation

Olive tree, olive family, grows in countries with a warm subtropical climate, in Russia it is cultivated in the southern regions: in the Crimea and the Krasnodar Territory. The middle zone of our country is not suitable for growing olive crops, but you can grow an olive tree in a greenhouse or at home with a minimum of effort.

Table varieties of olives with proper care will delight you with fruits for a long time, because olive trees are long-lived plants. An example is the Gardens of Gethsemane, with olive trees over one and a half thousand years old.

Greece is called the birthplace of olive culture, there is a legend that the Greek goddess Athena sent an olive branch as a gift to the fertile land, which gave rise to the first olive gardens.

Article content:

  • Species and varieties of olive trees
  • Olive tree at home. Growing from seeds, seedlings and cuttings
  • Olive trees in Russia, cultivation history
  • Olive fruit benefits

Types and varieties of olive trees

The olive tree has more than 30 types of cultivation. The most common species is the European olive, as well as golden-leaved and Cape.

Olive tree varieties can be divided into several groups:

Oilseed - a varietal group of olives grown for the production of olive oil.
Combined (universal olive variety) - designed for both oil production and preservation.
Table varietal group - intended for conservation and consumption.

Names of olive varieties, often similar to where the crop was grown. Wild varieties of olives are unknown, the explanation can be that people have long, in order to increase the yield, grafted branches of a cultivated olive to a wild variety, thereby completely destroying the primitive species. A species is an evolutionarily established set of individuals, characterized by a single ... olive trees. Today, a European high-yielding variety of olives is grown on an industrial scale.

Major producers of olives include Spain, Greece, Italy, Tunisia, Syria, Morocco. All cultivars differ in their characteristic features (composition of olives, size, color), destination group, the quality of the final product directly depends on the variety of olive raw materials.

Table olive varieties include Spanish, Ascolana, Cerignola, Zinzala, Lucca, Sabina. And oilseed varieties include: Frantogno, Tajasca, Caione, Biancolilla.

For indoor olive growing, choose European table varieties. The most suitable are recognized: Della Madonna, Urtinsky, Nikitinsky, Crimean, Razzo. To the question: “How long does an olive tree live?”, We can safely say that it is more than a hundred years old.

Potted varieties of olive trees have been obtained through the painstaking work of breeders, allowing you to grow an indoor olive tree in a pot. Such trees differ from their relatives only in size. These are evergreen, undersized trees with a lush, dark green crown. The harvest of olives, of course, will not please you, since the variety has a decorative function, but you can still collect 10-15 homemade olives from a tree.

Olive tree at home. Growing from seeds, seedlings and cuttings

Growing an olive tree indoors is quite a painstaking job. It's all about the temperature regime, if it is not observed, the tree will not bear fruit. In order for the buds to appear, the indoor tree, like its soil counterparts, must fall into a winter sleep, so the olive must be exposed to low temperatures, but hypothermia of the culture must be excluded. The optimal temperature for sleeping will be from +1 to +5 degrees.

The flowering of the olive tree is accompanied by the appearance of large white inflorescences, the first flowers appear from April, May. Ripening of indoor fruits after flowering occurs after four months.

A good yield of an olive tree is about 30 kg., but a houseplant is considered fruitful if it gives about 600 gr. olives.

The indoor olive tree remains evergreen throughout its life, however, like its large relatives, it can drop leaves, this is considered the norm and does not require resuscitation.

Growing an olive tree from seed is not an easy process, requiring patience and attention. First you need to purchase olive seeds (pits), canned foods will not work, olives for planting can be fresh or dried.

So, having obtained and cleaned the olives, it is necessary to soak the resulting bones in a weak solution of alkali for a day, then rinse them with water and dry with a paper towel. Before planting, file the olive seed coat to facilitate germination. It is better to plant in a pot, it is easier to control seed germination, humidity and temperature.

Sawed seeds are placed in a pot with soil to a depth of 3 cm, do not allow the seed to dry out and become excessively wet. The first shoots will appear within six months.

Olive trees do not tolerate low temperatures, so seed propagation is carried out in a warm room or in summer.

To speed up the process of growing an olive tree from the pit, germinate the seeds before planting in the ground by placing them in a shallow container of compost, standing on a sunny windowsill and moistening daily.

When the seeds germinate, you can start planting in the soil. It is necessary to mix black soil and sand in equal proportions, add peat, dry crushed lime and plant seeds in the resulting mixture. Before planting, do not forget about the presence of drainage (the olive does not tolerate stagnant water) and hardening of a young plant by alternating temperatures.

When the olive seedling is strong and growing, it can be planted in the ground, along with the contents of the pot, so as not to damage the root system. The olive tree is planted in the spring in well-warmed and moistened soil, in a calm and sunny area. Fruiting should be expected three to four years after planting.

Caring for a young oilseed plant consists in cutting off the lower shoots so that the tree grows upwards and does not turn into a bush, in daily watering and top dressing with fertilizers.

When the olive is propagated by cuttings, the tree inherits all the "mother" qualities, this method of planting simplifies further cultivation and speeds up the fruiting process of a young plant.

Cuttings should be carried out from older shoots, the cut points are treated with succinic acid or other rooting agent before planting. Planting material is planted in a moist sod-sand mixture to a depth of 15 cm. Plantings should be watered daily, preferably with settled water. Rooting of the plant will occur no earlier than four months later. If the olive stalk does not take root for a long time, but retains its fresh appearance. The species is an evolutionarily established set of individuals, characterized by a single ..., then some more time is needed, but if the stalk is withered and turned brown, then death has come. When the stalk takes root, the olive can be transplanted into the ground.

Landing on a permanent place of growth should be done at the end of August. The seedling is carefully removed from the previously moistened substrate, and placed in a new prepared place. It is necessary to plant the stalk carefully, without damaging the roots and not overloading it with soil, until the plant takes root in a new place.

Many novice gardeners ask themselves: "How to care for an olive tree"? The olive tree is not capricious, but the “southerner” still requires attention. Watering is done daily, but without stagnation of moisture in the soil. When the olive tree begins to grow actively, feed it with mineral fertilizers and nitrogen. The seedling should have enough heat and light, otherwise the olive will shed its leaves and fade.

In winter, the olive plant in the open field should not be left without proper protection. A young tree should be protected from the cold by wrapping the trunk with heat-insulating material, stop watering and top dressing.

Olive tree potted crops need to artificially create winter conditions, and in the process of healing the tree, cutting off dry twigs, you can shape the foliage crown to your liking and learn the art of bonsai on your olive tree. An olive bonsai tree can also be purchased at a specialized supermarket, small-leaved varieties look especially impressive.

Olive trees in Russia, the history of cultivation

Greek colonists began to cultivate the olive in the Caucasus as early as the 8th century. The debate about when and by whom the olive was brought to the Caucasus continues to this day, however, there is an assumption that the first seedlings of the olive tree appeared in our latitudes from Asia Minor, which suggests the origin of the olive in the Caucasus, earlier than in Greece .

The desolation of the ancient Greek colonies led to the fact that the olive gardens ceased to exist until the 15th century, and only with the arrival of the colonizers of Genoa, a new rise in the cultivation of the olive tree and the establishment of the production of olive products began. Subsequently, viticulture displaced the olive from the southern latitudes. Today, the olive is found on the entire Black Sea coast of the Krasnodar Territory.

Olive trees in Russia are also grown in the Crimea, they are found on the peninsula, adding zest to the local southern flavor. For the production of oil on an industrial scale, olives are not grown in our country due to difficult climatic conditions.

Benefits of olive fruit

Olives or olives are the fruits of the olive tree, they look like small plums. Changing color during ripening, from green to dark purple, olives become a storehouse of vitamins and trace elements. Olives are rich in unsaturated fatty acids and iodine. Olive oil, obtained from olives during the production process, is rich in pectin, iron and oleic acid.

The inclusion of olive oil in the diet will help get rid of cardiovascular diseases and atherosclerosis, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, gallstone disease, thyroid disease, help strengthen the immune system and cope with constipation. Olive oil perfectly moisturizes the skin and has a regenerating ability in combination with rosehip and sea buckthorn oils.

In cosmetology, olive oil is used to prepare masks and conduct relaxing procedures, olive extracts are added to soaps and shower products. Hand wrapping with olive oil tones the skin, moisturizes, saturates and nourishes, makes nails healthy.

Olive oil hair masks prevent hair loss, get rid of dandruff, brittleness and dullness.

Olive leaves contain oleuropein, an antiseptic and antimicrobial substance, and are in demand in the form of powder and infusions. There is an opinion that olive oil, namely the content of oleuropein in it, helps in the fight against skin cancer.

Table olive oil is produced from the fruits of the olive, which is used to season various dishes. Raw olives are unsuitable for consumption, due to bitterness, in order to get rid of the bitter taste, the olives are soaked in a special solution or subjected to preservation.

Oil-bearing varieties of olives, due to their varietal affiliation, are processed to obtain oil. With the help of cold pressing, the first batch of oil is obtained, which is considered the most useful. Further, by thermal treatment, the pomace is used to produce second-pressed oil, yellowish and less aromatic than first-class olive oil.

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