Evaluation of Best Production Practices for Olive (Olea europaea) in Oregon. Part I

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2018: $193,575.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Oregon State University
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Heather Stoven
Oregon State University


  • 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

    Proposal abstract:

    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
    objectives include:
    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.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.