Olea europaea selections

‘Swan Hill’ and ‘Tolley’s Upright’ Olive

Metropolitan Tree Growers are proud to grow 1 form of olive which is sterile, and another which is upright and low fruiting. We have chosen to grow these forms because they reduce the required maintenance of fruit removal as well as keeping the trees in better physical condition (we are aware that when homeowners harvest fruit from olives, they can damage the trees by shaking/bashing them).

Olives are ideal trees for the urban environment, as they are of small stature, long lived, are easily pruned, and can grow well in most sites. They are evergreen trees with elegant ‘olive green’ foliage that is sparse enough to allow some winter light through. The bark is handsome, pale grey until the trees are very old, and the wood is strong and durable.

Olives will tolerate many sites, seemingly all that are not strongly compacted or waterlogged. In dry soils, olives will grow slowly, but orchard experience has shown that with adequate irrigation in organic soils, olives can grow up to 400mm per year.

We are growing these selections:

‘Swan Hill’:

This olive was discovered in an orchard near Swan Hill Victoria, where it was a 20 year old tree that had not fruited. Cuttings from this tree were sent to the University of California, where its fruitless nature was confirmed. Later, Dr H. Hartmann discovered that it produced little-to-no pollen as well. The tree grows equally as wide-as-tall unless pruned, and can be grown easily as a single-trunked tree.

‘Tolley’s Upright’:

We have sourced cuttings of this olive from Ian Tolley, a noted citrus authority in Renmark South Australia. He has grown this tree for over 10 years as a clipped hedge that is approximately 4 metres tall by 1.4m at the broadest. It does prodiuce some edible fruit. As an unpruned tree, it should grow to 6-7m tall by 2-3m broad with good, strong branch attachment. The foliage on ‘Tolley’s Upright’ seems to be a paler, more silvery-green than many other olive selections. An excellent plant!

Typical mature height: 7m

Useful in: streetscapes, reserves & parks

Sites for best growth: tolerate most site conditions