Sandy Oaks Olive Tree Nursery
Olive trees are extremely hardy trees that adapt to many climates and soil conditions. The love I hold for the trees in my orchard is reflected in the care I and the folks who work here give to the trees in our nursery. I am committed to providing olive trees that are suitable for any setting, whether you are planting an orchard or just enhancing your landscape with these beautiful trees. After twenty plus years of growing olive trees and experimenting with 38 varieties in the orchard, I feel I have a firm handle on what varieties are best suited to Texas and the southern United States. I experimented with trees that originated in Greece, France, Italy, Spain, Tunisia and the United States. Of these first varieties I have found those that perform well in the colder parts of zone 8 to those that are more suited to the warmer parts of zones 8 through 10. The nursery has trees in 1, 2, and 5-gallon containers. Please contact us so we can help you pick the trees best suited to your environment. I can be reached directly at 210-422-6657 for help in choosing your trees or any other tree questions you may have. Caution: Olive trees do not like wet feet, so they are not suited to clay soils.
Varieties that perform well in Texas and the Southern United States:
Arbequina was first introduced to Spain by the Duke of Medinaceli
during the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century. Although it was initially grown in Catalonia, Aragon and Andalusia Spain, it is now widely planted all over the world, including Texas. It adapts to many climates and soils, thriving in long, hot dry summers. It is cold hardy and pest resistant. It has a high oil content, but the fruit can also be brined for the table. It begins to produce in about 2-3 years.
Another Spanish variety, it is planted widely in the Taragon region. It is cold hardy and begins to produce in 2-3 years. It is primarily used for oil. The oil is more stable than Arbequina and has a fruity, pleasant flavor.
The origin is Spanish. It is an extremely important cultivar in the areas where olives are grown for the table. It is self-sterile, but Arbequina or Pendolino are good pollinator choices for Texas. It has moderate resistance to cold. Excellent variety for South Texas.
Mission is a US variety, brought to the New World by Spaniards in the 1600s. Recently discovered manifests from the ships traveling to the New World from Spain show that seeds from the Cornicabra Olive Tree were included. Franciscan Friars planted these in what is now Texas at the Missions they established. So you might say the olive industry started that early in Texas. When the missions were converted to Presidiums, the trees died out from neglect. Over the centuries the Mission has morphed into what is now known as the Mission Olive Tree. Mission trees are cold hardy and self-pollinating, and begin to produce in 4-5 years. Mission trees are most commonly grown as a table olive, but the oil is very high in polyphenols. This means it is very shelf stable and the oil is often blended with other oils that are not as stable, to increase the shelf life.
Koroneiki originates in Greece and accounts for 50-60% of olive cultivars planted there. It is not cold hardy, but It is a good variety for South Texas and parts of the San Antonio area. The olive oil is extremely high in oleic acid and polyphenols making it a very stable olive oil. It is good to blend with less stable olive oils. It begins to produce in 2-3 years, and is highly productive.
Pendolino is a variety of Italian origin. It is medium cold hardy. It is considered a universal pollinator due to its high and consistent production of pollen and because it pollinates most varieties of trees. It is, however, self-sterile and needs to be pollinated by other varieties. It has an oil content of about 23% and the oil has a pleasant flavor. It begins to bear fruit in 2-3 years. Although it is primarily used for oil, the olives can also be used for the table.
Picual is a Spanish variety that accounts for about thirty percent of trees planted in the world. It is high in oil content and produces a strongly flavored oil with great stability. It is medium cold hardy and partially self-pollinating. Begins to produce in about 5 years.
Corotina is one of the most important Italian varieties. It is grown in the Puglia region of Italy. It is partially self-pollinating, but performs better with a pollinator such as Pendolino. It is tolerant of the cold. It produces a very high-quality oil with high levels of polyphenols. Thus, it has a very stable shelf life.
Chemlali originated in Tunisia. This variety accounts for 70% olives grown there. It is cold hardy and is very drought tolerant even in sandy soils like mine. It is highly productive and does not display alternate bearing in my orchard. It begins to produce in about 3 years. The olives are quite small and so it is used only for oil production. The oil is quite delicious with a smooth fruity flavor and a slightly spicy finish. It is a stable oil.
Queslati is a lesser variety grown in Tunisia. It is grown in the northern region of Tunisia and is cold hardy. The tree is hardy, but slow to produce. taking about five years to produce. The olives are used to produce olive oil that is very fragrant.
The first question people often ask is what is the difference between s a 1. 2, or 5 gallons tree. Although there may not be much difference in height the root structure in a 2 or 5 gallon tree is much larger than a 1 gallon tree.
1-5 Gallon Tees are Available for purchase by phone or online
Curbside is available or orders must be placed in advance to schedule a for pickup.
To Purchase Online
Order by Phone
The Q&A below is based on questions I am often asked by people who take a tour of Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard. If you think