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Answers to some common questions about olive trees:

One of our customers and friend visiting The Olive Grove was telling us about a pomace oil that he had purchased, he purchased en entire gallon for only $3.95.  The seller claimed that it was made from extra virgin olive oil so he believed that it was okay to use for cooking, salads, bread dips and such.  He said it tasted terrible but he was using it.

All olive oils are not the same. Olive oil is a fruit juice derived from pressing or mashing the olive.  Olive oil comes in virgin, extra virgin, pure and light versions. Virgin means that no chemicals were used in the process of extracting the oil from the fruit. Extra virgin means that the olive oil has undergone several tests to confirm its taste and to verify that it is free of defects. Light olive oil is not pure virgin olive oil. This form is a blend of pomace olive oil, which is olive oil that is extracted from the fruit using heat and chemicals, and virgin olive oil. 

Olive Pomace Oil is olive oil that is extracted from olive pulp after pressing. Approximately 5-8% of the oil remains in the pulp, which then needs to be extracted with the help of solvents, one of which, Hexane is a petroleum derivative. It is a colorless liquid with a slight odor and doesn't dissolve in water.  Though it is considered edible there may be health risks involved.  http://www.epa.gov/ttnatw01/hlthef/hexane.html

Watch the labels and know the truth and the differences between the olive oils and always ask questions.  


Q- We attended  your seminar on  the 25th of  March. We enjoyed it very much ,also we ordered the book you recommended.  Also we  love the olive we purchased, thank you.   I do have a question though, my wife understood  someone to say that  composing  oak leaves  ( local scrub oak)  to replace nitrogen is not recommended.   Why, I cannot find anywhere that excludes using Oak or any other leave as a composing element.    If in fact there is information  to exclude  scrub oak please forward that information.   The reason is we are seriously looking into planting a little over 4 acres, and like you  we have a lot of scrub oak on the 3 acres not  planted.



David Hitchcock  & Charlotte Furey


A- Thank you so much, it is always nice to hear from our guests and we are always happy to answer any questions.

The reason that Cambren said not to use scrub oak and to clear away debris from these trees is because; in Florida, we have found the twig borer to be a pest to the olive trees.  The only pest so far. We also found that if you cut off the damaged part of the tree that the twig borer has infected then the tree recovers without ever having to use chemicals  or insecticides.  The twig borer lives in the decomposing scrub oak so the best natural defense is to keep it away in the first place.  This is from our own experience, we are an organic grove and prefer to avoid the problem rather than have to treat it.  I hope that helps.


Q- I have had an olive tree for 5 years but I never got any olives. Why is that?

A- There are  many different reasons why you may not be getting olives from your 5 year old tree.

(1) Your tree may have been grown from a pit, olive trees that are grown from pits can take 8-10 years to begin to produce fruit.  Our trees are grown from the cuttings of mature fruit bearing trees and will produce fruit in one or two years.

(2) Your tree may need a pollinator. Many varieties of olive trees are self pollinating but there are several varieties that are not and will not produce fruit without a pollinizer. 

Manzanillo, Mission and Ascolano to name a few, all require pollinators.  Our trees are self pollinating but will bear 15% higher if cross pollinated. 

Manzanillo are sensitive to cold and require the Sevillano or Ascolano for pollination.

Mission are cold hardy and also require Sevillano or Ascolano for pollination.

Ascolano require the Mission or Manzanillo for pollination.

We sell the Arbequina (Spanish), Arbosana (Spanish) and Koroneiki (Greek) olive tree varieties, these varieties do not require pollinators and are both cold and drought tolerant.

(3) Too much Nitrogen will cause leaf growth but inhibit flowering also too much rain may cause the flowers to drop.

(4) There are ornamental varieties of olive trees that are used for landscaping that do not produce fruit.

Know what you're buying. Know who you are buying from, be sure you are buying your trees from a licensed and inspected source that will stand by their products. We are licensed and inspected and we guarantee our trees for a full year, if your tree dies, bring it back to us and we will replace it.

Q- What kind of trees are these, green olives or black olives?

A- These are the stages of olives: Olive Blossoms


Olives start out green, turn partially red/ green as they begin to ripen then fully ripened will turn purple or commonly referred to as black. The ideal time to harvest is when some have fully ripened but most are still reddish/ green. 

Q- What are the diseases of olive trees?

A- We recommend "Olive Production Manual" that can be purchased through the University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources Communication Services  http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/ANRPub/3353.aspx

This manual is based on olive groves, study and research in California statewide. As far as our "Olive Grove" we have not seen any diseases or infestations here in Florida on any of our trees as of yet with the exception of the twig borer.  To remedy, we simply cut the parts of the twigs that were affected and the trees came back fine.  We noticed also that the twigs or branches that were affected did die but the tree recovered completely and NO insecticides were used.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concern that you may have or find. If we don't know the answer we will find it out. Email us at dedes.rizzo@gmail.com or call or text us at 352-345-5940.  Snail Mail The Olive Grove 15016 Rester Drive Brooksville, FL 34613.   

Louise and Paul visited The Olive Grove while they were in Florida doing research and giving a seminar on growing olives and production in Florida. Louise and Paul are a wealth of knowledge, they are also wonderful people. We learned a great deal from them and were thrilled that they came to visit our grove. We have included links to Louise and Paul and their areas of expertise.

Louise Ferguson Technical Editor of the Olive Production Manual Cambren Davis, Dede Rizzo, Paul Vossen, Louise Ferguson The Olive Grove Brooksville, FLPhoto: Cambren Davis, Dede Rizzo, Paul Vossen and Louise Feruson

Paul Vossen Writer of chapter 23 "Olive Oil Production",  Olive Production Manual.



Areas of Expertise

bullet Fruit and Nut Crop
bullet Olives
bullet Plants and Their Systems
bullet Plant Management Systems
bullet Program and Project Support, Administration, and Communication

Areas of Expertise

bullet Ag Commodities and Products - General
bullet Fruit Crops - General
bullet Olives
bullet Ornamental Crops, Landscape and Turf
bullet Landscape - General
bullet Plants and Their Systems
bullet Plant Management Systems
bullet Insects, Mites, and Other Arthropods Affecting Plants
bullet Pathogens and Nematodes Affecting Plants
bullet Food and Non-Food Products: Development, Processing, Quality, and Delivery
bullet New and Improved Food Products
bullet Program and Project Support, Administration, and Communication
bullet Communication, Education, and Information Delivery
bullet Natural Resources and Environment
bullet Pollution Prevention and Mitigation
bullet Master Gardeners