Growing Olives in Zone 7: A Gardener’s Guide

olive tree planting zone

How to Push the Boundaries and Grow Olive Trees in Zone 7

As gardeners, we often find ourselves wanting to grow trees that aren’t typically recommended for our zones. Whether it’s a New Yorker dreaming of a Meyer lemon tree or a Southern Californian yearning for Bartlett pears, we love pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in our gardens. Today, we’re going to explore the world of olive trees and how you can successfully grow them in Zone 7.

Tricia, the expert behind Tips Tree Planting, recently shared a video where she planted an olive tree, igniting excitement among gardeners like us. Olive trees not only add beauty to any landscape but also offer a bountiful harvest of health-giving fruits. Now, let’s dive into the secrets of growing olives in your climate.

Finding Warmth for Your Olive Trees in Zone 7

Microclimates: Your Key to Success

Tricia planting an olive tree

To successfully grow olives in Zone 7, you’ll need to find the warm microclimates within your property. These microclimates are pockets of your landscape that are hotter or cooler than the surrounding areas. Here are some tips for identifying warm microclimates:

  • Up against the wall: Heat reflects from south or west-facing walls, outbuildings, or wooden fences. These structures store heat during the day and radiate it at night, raising the temperature by several degrees. Plant your olive tree near one of these structures while ensuring enough room for the tree to grow and receive proper air circulation.

  • Facing south or west: Garden areas that receive full southern exposure are the warmest parts of your landscape. Western exposures come next as hotspots. While eastern exposures capture morning sun, they are shaded in the afternoon, providing insufficient additional heat to create a warmer microclimate.

  • Higher is better: The upper part of a slope tends to be warmer than the lower part. Cold air flows downhill and settles in valleys, bringing cooler temperatures and increased frost potential.

Growing Olives in Zone 7: A Gardener’s Guide

Choosing Cold-Tolerant Olive Varieties for Zone 7

Typical olive trees are susceptible to damage at temperatures below 17°F and may not survive temperatures below 10°F. However, there are a few varieties that are more cold-tolerant and have a better chance of thriving in Zone 7. If you’re in this zone, we recommend considering the Mission and Arbequina olive trees.

Protecting Your Olive Trees during Cold Spells

During unexpected cold spells, it’s crucial to protect your olive trees. One reliable temporary measure is to use floating row cover fabric, such as Agribon, as a shield over the tree. Another unconventional method, suggested by the Texas Olive Council, involves mounding soil around the tree trunk, about 18 inches high, until the tree reaches the age of five. The soil should be mounded in November and removed in late March.

Pro Tip: Growing olives in containers provides ultimate climate control. You can move the containers under the eaves of your house or into a structure during cold spells or as needed. Olive trees adapt well to container gardening, making this an effective strategy for Zone 7 gardeners.

Combining warm microclimates, selecting the right variety, and implementing safeguards during cold spells will increase your chances of successfully growing olives in Zone 7.

Remember, gardening is all about pushing boundaries, exploring new possibilities, and achieving what others may deem impossible. With these secrets in hand, you’re ready to embark on a journey to grow luscious olive trees that will be the envy of all your gardening friends.

To discover more gardening tips and tricks, visit Tips Tree Planting, your ultimate resource for all things gardening.

Happy planting!