- Fruits: olives
- Crop Production: cropping systems, varieties and cultivars, Cold hardiness, up-potting and winter protection for establishment
- Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, participatory research
- Production Systems: dryland farming
Olives are a high value specialty crop cultivated to a limited extent in Oregon, mainly due to
climatic environmental conditions. The principal limitations to growing olives in Oregon are
winter temperatures with a lack of known cold hardy cultivars and a relatively short season to
ripen fruit. Cultivars that are sufficiently hardy and produce quality fruit must be identified and
growing techniques refined to adapt the crop to these conditions. An additional goal is to reduce
the cost of orchard establishment by providing information on propagation to facilitate local
availability of adapted cultivars. Unfortunately, as most olives are produced in milder climates,
comprehensive, relevant information on the cold hardiness of the hundreds of olive cultivars
does not exist. This project will address this by obtaining novel cultivars from U.S. and foreign
sources as cuttings, rooting them, and evaluating them in a replicated, multi-year field evaluation
in Aurora, OR (USDA hardiness zone 8b). A separate effort will address observations made by
growers that larger, more mature olive plants are more resistant to freeze damage than younger
plants. Rooted cuttings of six cultivars currently grown in Oregon orchards will be planted
directly in the field, and in winter protected 2.5-gallon, and 5 gallon pots to assess their
respective susceptibility to freeze injury. To address the need for information on propagation
techniques for local conditions, cuttings will be rooted in various substrates and collected at
different developmental stages for comparison. Project results will be regularly shared with
industry and the public through web-based and printed publications and media, as well as field
days and presentations hosted in collaboration with the Olive Growers of Oregon.
Project objectives from proposal:
The main goals of the project are to assist in making olive production economically feasible and
reduce climatic limitations for olive growers. In order to achieve these goals the specific project
1. Determine most effective olive propagation techniques for Oregon by evaluating timing
and propagation medium in significantly increase rooting of locally-adapted cultivars.
2. Establish relative cold hardiness of olive cultivars through a six-year field evaluation, to
determine cultivars that are hardiest and produce high-quality fruit in western Oregon.
3. Evaluate transplanting and up-potting practices to achieve rapid orchard establishment
and determine if plant size and maturity at planting influences subsequent cold hardiness.
4. Disseminate the information obtained to industry stakeholders, existing and potential
growers, project participants, and the general public via written media, online, and inperson
communications during and following the duration of the project.