Sunday, March 08, 2009

Olive Trees in Leucadia?

John Portilla from Fulano's Cafe sent me this email,
I just wanted to give you a suggestion on trees for 101 in Leucadia. Last week I had a job in Vegas. Up by the Lake. There was a beautiful Blvd. that had Olive trees in the middle & on the outside of the Blvd. It was beautiful!!! Olivie trees are drought tolerant, live 300 years & would keep the Euro feel of Leucadia. Just a thought.

Street lined with Olive trees in Arizona.

Olive tree as landscaping.

Van Gogh understood the beauty of olive trees.

Olive tree tunnel, oooooooh!

Imagine this as a Leucadia Hwy101 roundabout.

Lassen Street Olive Trees in LA. link Nice shade!

Olive trees have interesting twisty trunks.


  1. great idea...but no,no, no....

    any tree in Leucadia with out a perfectly cemetrical and straigth trunk over 5 years old has a 95% chance of being cut down by Chain Saw "Woops Again" Frenken

  2. I like them - how do we let the council know.

  3. Along the Mediterranean there are many olive orchards with trees older than 300 years. Trees don't have life spans like animals.

  4. Olive trees grow well here because we are on the same lattitude line as the Mediterranean and share similar climates. And you guessed it, Australia is a big breeding ground for the Olive too, but there it is considered an "invasive species". But to me, placing all native trees back within the 2 mile radius they originated in is like segregation for plants.
    What doesn't invade?

  5. I love the look of the old gnarled olive trees, and we have one in our yard and several in our neighborhood (Crest Drive...another tree-friendly part of Encinitas). The downside is..the olives. They're oily and make a real mess. Maybe there's a newer variety of the olive tree which doesn't actually produce the fruit. Otherwise, an olive tree tunnel wouldn't really be desirable except in a dirt field.

  6. Many fruitless varieties are available. Several are thriving with little water in my Leucadia neighborhood.

  7. We were in Italy this summer and I fell in love with the olive trees there. There were everywhere, as roadside shrubs, specimens, and of course, in orchards.

    As we have been slowly converting our boring lawn garden to edible, no-lawn landscaping, drought-tolerant landscaping, I returned home hot for get an olive tree or two. For a king's ransom, old olives trees are available from mission orchards farther north. I understand they survive the transplant quite well with proper care and transplanting technique.

    Gorgeous relatively developed specimens are available at Sunshine nursery in large wooden grates (not for DIYers without access to delivery trucks and moving equipment), in non-fruiting varieties, but I wanted a fruiting tree and the prices (starting at $250) were still over my tree budget and made DIY difficult.

    La Costa Anderson nursery was able to get what I wanted, DIY-capable fruiting olive trees in smaller sizes (5 & 15 gallon containers) for very reasonable prices (about $40 and 120, I think). I'm very happy with the 15 gallon tree we put in the front garden.

    As mentioned, fruiting trees are messy (oily) if the fruit is allowed to fall to the ground, so placement (not near walkways, patios, pools, etc.). Harvesting the olives could take care of that too. Olives cannot be eaten fresh but can be brined or cured with salt, etc. I do have an interest in this sort of culinary tradition, so that 's one of the reasons I wanted a fruiting tree.

    One thing to also consider, there is a olive Med fly in SD county that can spoil the fruit. I was warned about this. It's important to regularly clean up any fallen fruit and tree litter to avoid this pest. Harvesting green olives before they ripen (turn dark) and fall is a good practice. Otherwise, lives are pretty low maintenance and easy to manage. The also grow fairly slowly and can be kept low in height to facilitate olive harvesting.

    Glad to see the lovely photos of the olive trees. They have such character and beauty; I'd love to see more olives around Encinitas.

  8. Olive trees can be really messy with the fallen fruit. It is possible to spray them when they are blooming to prevent fruit set.

    The "fruitless" varieties are not truly fruitless. They only produce less fruit. The tree also tends to be not very tall, especially when grown with minimal irrigation. I've seen them in Israel with a claimed age of nearly 1000 years, but they are barely 10-12 feet high. They survive on rainfall in very rocky soil.

    They are very well suited to our climate, but I can't see them as a canopy tree in the 101 corridor. Better as an accent tree and planted where the fruit won't drop on sidewalks or streets.

  9. As a couple of others have said: Olives are very messy trees. I grew up with them, and the fallen fruit stains sidewalks. It sticks to your shoes, tracks inside and stains floors. If it falls on a car, it sticks and damages the paint. Yes, they're beautiful, but they belong in an orchard, not in town.

  10. Phoenix had to pass ordinances against olive trees. I believe allergies from all of the non-native species was behind this. The idea of having feral food growing throughout Leucadia is a positive idea. Even if a homeowner doesn't want the food, having others gleaning is a cool idea. I don't know if you noticed, but the economy is in the toilet, climate change is upon us, food is getting really expensive and the agricultural systems are pretty vulnerable. Just sayin'.

  11. Comment from the eastern reached of Encinitas ...

    Olive trees? Don't those belong in Olivenhain? Olivenhain is "Olive Grove" in German.

  12. 6:01

    Yeah, I've often wondered why there aren't rows of avocado, orange, apple and every other kind of fruit tree lining our roads. I think it has something to do with capitalism more than the threat of freeloaders. But how bitchen would that be?! People would probably eat less junk food too because healthy food was within reach. Nobody wants bums at Leucadia Roadside Park, so they got rid of the picnic table, water fountain and Bar-B-Q. Is there some law preventing fruit trees lining public roads?

  13. fruit trees require massive maintenance to keep pests down and not breeding into the neighborhoods. They also take a lot of water to be productive.

    We grow buildings not food now.

    You can't pay for maintenance if your crop is eaten by kids and transients.

    There are some cities in so cal that have open spaced leased to orchards. It is possible but what you are talking about is actually no so good in reality.

  14. We can't eat buildings.

  15. I'm all for Just Peachy and the Farmer's Market, but the Garden of Eden didn't need either of them. All it took was time before two humans screwed it all up, but they did. Maybe they became developers after 900 years.

  16. You'll have to throw in a Cypress with the Olive...How about a Floss Silk Tree?


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