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Crop Guide: Olives Cultivation

Index:
  1. Pre-planting soil amelioration
  2. Pre-planting base dressing + side dressing
  3. Pre-planting base dressing + irrigation & fertigation
  4. No base dressing
  5. Recommendations for an extensively cultivated, rain-fed, olive-bearing orchard yielding up to 10 ton / ha
  6. Recommendations for a rain-fed, olive-bearing orchard yielding from 6 to 20 ton / ha
  7. Recommendations for irrigated but not fertigated, olive-bearing orchard, yielding 3-5 ton / ha
  8. Recommendations for nutrigated (fertigated) olive-bearing orchard
  9. Foliar feeding with Haifa products
  10. Soil application - controlled-release nutrition
  11. Haifa NutriNet™ - online fertilization and Nutrigation™ programs
 
5.1 Pre-planting soil amelioration
As mentioned in the previous chapter, before loading the soil with nutrients that will serve the plantation for the first years of its life, soil properties need to be adequate for growing olives. After performing a thorough soil test, the grower should ascertain that the soil is not too acidic, nor too basic or sodic. Should the soil test show a need for soil amelioration, the following means need to be taken.
 
Correcting acidic soil pH
Usually only the surface, i.e., top 18 cm (7 inch) layer becomes acidic enough to require liming. The amount of finely ground limestone required varies with soil texture. In order to raise the pH of the said layer by one pH unit from an initial pH of 4.5 or 5.5, the following rates are needed:
  • In sandy soil: about 2 MT / ha (0.5 short ton / acre)
  • In a clay loam soil: about 8 MT / ha (2 short ton / acre)
 
Correcting alkali soils
Alkali soils may be acidified by application of elemental sulfur. Sulfur in the form of sulfate is not an acidifying material. It is advisable to acidify the soil gradually, over several years. Two small applications of acidifying material a year apart are better than a single large application. Soil acidification reactions may take a year or more to complete, so check soil pH annually to monitor the change. Check pH at the same time each year, as soil pH varies seasonally. Monitor soil pH and wait until the desired pH is reached before planting. Add elemental S according to the clay content of soil. Mix the sulfur into the soil.
 
Examples for application rates:
  • For sandy soil, add 450 – 900 kg of elemental S per 1ha.
  • For clayey soil, add 1.8 – 2.25 ton of elemental S per 1ha.
  • Soil with high organic matter content also requires more elemental S than sandy soil, to achieve the same pH decrease.
  • Soils with combined high organic matter and medium clay content, need 1.8 – 2.25 ton elemental S per 1ha. A logical approach is to apply S in the fall and test the soil pH in the spring. If the desired pH has not been attained, repeat the process.
Correcting sodic soils
Sodic soils can be corrected by the application of gypsum. Application rate should be determined by a lab analysis. After the gypsum is applied, the displaced sodium must be leached below the root zone by high rates of irrigation. Organic materials such as manure, cover crop, or crop residues may help improve the soil structure for leaching. In order not to again build up a high sodium load, irrigation water should have a high ratio of calcium and magnesium versus sodium.
 
5.2 Pre-planting base dressing + side dressing
The following program is recommended for situations where the intended plot is not equipped with irrigation and fertigation systems, the soil is not fertile, and no previous crop residues can be recycled. In such situations the following nutrients, fertilizers and rates are recommended:
Nutrients
N
P2O5
K2O
CaO
MgO
Rates (kg/ha)
4
87
40
16
13
Fertilizers
Ammonium nitrate (34% N)
Superphosphate (25% P2O5)
Potassium sulfate (50%)
Dolomite (26%)
Magnesium sulfate (16%)
Rates (kg/ha)
12
350
80
62
81
In the next two years, it is enough to apply nitrogen only, at app. 11 kg / ha (e.g., 32 kg / ha of AN) per year, while all other nutrients will be supplied by the aforementioned side-dressed fertilizers.
 
5.3 Pre-planting base dressing + irrigation & fertigation
Example: Plant density: 500 trees / ha
Soil type: Light to medium
Pre-planting base dressing is done the same way as in paragraph 5.2.
Nutrients
N
P2O5
K2O
CaO
MgO
Rates (kg/ha)
4
125
40
16
13
Fertilizers
Ammonium nitrate (34% N)
Superphosphate (25% P2O5)
Potassium sulfate (50%)
Dolomite (26%)
Magnesium sulfate (16%)
Rates (kg/ha)
12
500
80
62
81
Once planted, apply by fertigation a 1:1 ratio of N & K, as shown in the following table. Start applying phosphorus based on leaf analysis from the third year and on.
 
Table 5.1: Fertilization schedule of non-bearing olive trees
Orchard age (years)
Required nutrients
Recommended fertilizers
N
K2O
Urea
(kg / ha)
1
50 - 80
50 -70
78 - 130
110 - 150
2
80 - 120
70 -120
130 - 170
150 - 260
3
120 - 150
120 - 145
170 - 240
260 - 315
 
 
5.4 No base dressing, but nutrition can be done by fertigation or side dressingprograms from planting to fruit-bearing
This program is based on Haifa's product Poly-Feed® 17-10-27 + micro nutrients, a fully water-soluble fertilizer that contains all essential plant nutrients. The following table suggests application timing and rates of this product, assuming that planting takes place in spring.
 
Table 5.2: Fertilization program for newly planted olive trees
Age of tree (years)
Season
Poly-feed® 17-10-27+M(g / tree)
Root zone diameter(m)
1
Spring
83
0.6
1
Early summer
99
0.9
1
Mid summer
99 - 124
1.2
2
Spring
217
2.1
2
Summer
236
2.7
2
Late summer
168
1.8
3
Winter
246
3.4
3
Spring
276
3.7
3
Summer
295
4.3
 
Apply fertilizer in response to leaf and soil analysis.
 
 
5.5 Recommendations for an extensively cultivated, rain-fed, olive-bearing orchard yielding up to 10 ton / ha (25 kg / tree)
Table 5.3: N-P-K application rates and forms
c
N
K2O
P2O5
Nutrient rate (kg / ha)
100
200
30-40
Recommended fertilizer
Urea
Multi-K
SSP (20% P2O5)
Fertilizer rate (kg / ha)
44
435
150 – 200
Application method & timing
2-3 broadcasting applications during rainy season
1 broadcasting application during late fall
 
 
5.6 Recommendations for a rain-fed, olive-bearing orchard yielding from 6 to 20 ton / ha (25 kg / tree)
This program is based on Haifa's product Poly-Feed 17-10-27 + micro nutrients, a fully water-soluble fertilizer that contains all essential plant nutrients. If manure is added, rates should be reduced according to the analysis of the manure.
 
Table 5.4: A program for a rain-fed, olive-bearing orchard
Expected yield
Autumn
End of winter (before start of vegetative growth)
kg / tree
Ton / ha
Nutrient
Recommended fertilizer
Nutrients
Recommended fertilizer
N
Urea 46-0-0
N
P2O5
K2O
Poly-Feed®17-10-27+ ME
< 15
< 6
250
550
270
160
430
1,600
15-30
6 – 12
250
550
370
220
550
2,200
30-50
12 – 20
300
650
500
300
800
2,950
> 50
> 20
350
760
630
370
1,000
3,700
 
5.7 Recommendations for irrigated but not fertigated, olive-bearing orchard, yielding 3-5 ton / ha
The total amount of nutrients should be split into 4 – 6 side-dressing applications, from early spring till early summer.
Plant nutrients (kg / ha)
Recommended fertilizer (kg / ha)
N
K2O
P2O5
Poly-Feed®17-10-27+ME
190
300
50-100 (if required by leaf analysis)
1,100
 
5.8 Recommendations for nutrigated (fertigated) olive-bearing orchard
The programs are based on the general uptake curves of the different plant organs depicted in Figure 5.1.
 
Figure 5.1: A scheme of the nutritional requirements of leaves (green curve), flowers (yellow curve) and fruits (red curve)
 
Situation A: For orchards yielding ~30 ton / ha
Plant density: 500 trees / ha
Soil type: light to medium
Side-dressing equipment is not available
Foliar spraying equipment is not available
 
Option I
Table 5.5: Fertigation schedule according to season and physiological stage of olive trees
Application time
Nutrients
Fertilizers
N
K2O
P2O5
Multi-K*
Haifa-MAP**
Ammonium nitrate
(kg / ha)
(kg / ha)
Spring - early summer
125-185
200-240
246-300
540-650
320-390
190-200
Post harvest
75-115
-
150-180
330-400
-
50-130
Total
200-300
200-240
395-480
870-1,050
320-390
240-330
* Multi-K® – Potassium nitrate (13-0-46)
** Haifa MAP – Mono ammonium phosphate (12-61-0)
Ammonium nitrate (34-0-0)
 
General instructions
End fertigation 50 days prior to harvest.
Divide nutrigated rate into weekly doses.
Adjust fertilized rate according to leaf analysis data.
 
Option II - Nutrigation™ schedule detailed by months:
Same orchard conditions as in Option I.
 
Table 5.6: Fertigation schedule under Mediterranean growing conditions
Application by month
Multi-K®*
HaifaMAP®**
Ammonium nitrate
(kg / ha)
February
0
150
21
March
0
100
78
April
0
94
111
May
26
94
183
June
75
47
219
July
125
0
205
August
195
0
60
September
200
0
0
October
200
0
0
* Multi-K® – Potassium nitrate (13-0-46)
** Haifa MAP® Mono ammonium phosphate (12-61-0)
Ammonium nitrate (34-0-0)
Divide monthly rates into weekly doses.
Adjust fertilized rates according to leaf analysis data.
 
Option III – a program based on Nutrigation only, at various tree densities
 
Table 5.7: The effect of tree density on yield and plant nutrient removal
Planting density
Yield
Plant nutrient requirements
Recommended fertilizers
N
P2O5
K2O
Poly-Feed17-10-27+ME
Urea46-0-0
Trees / ha
kg / tree
kg / ha
kg / ha
kg / ha
417
10
4,2
150
50
145
537
168
556
9
5,0
160
55
155
574
136
1,250
6
7,5
170
60
165
611
144
1,905
5
9,5
180
65
175
648
152
Situation B: For orchards yielding 2.4 – 3.2 ton / ha (60 – 80 kg / tree)
 
Side-dressing equipment is available
Foliar spraying equipment is available
 
Table 5.8: An olive orchard nutrition program based on side dressing, nutrigation and foliar feeding
Time (northern hemisphere)
Application method
Products
Rates
kg / tree
kg / ha
February
Side dressing
Multicrop 17-6-12 + 0.5B
3 - 5
1,200 - 2,000
May
Foliar
Poly-Feed Foliar 21-21-21 + ME
1% @ 1,000 L/ha
June
Nutrigation
Poly-Feed 25-0-25 + 2Mgo
1
400
June
Nutrigation
Multi-K 13-0-46
1
400
June
Foliar
Poly-Olive 15-7-30+ 2MgO+ ME + 0.45B
1% @ 1,000 L/ha
July
Nutrigation
Poly-Feed 17-0-34 + 2Mgo
1.5
600
July
Foliar
Poly-Olive 15-7-30+ 2MgO+ ME + 0.45B
1% @ 1,000 L/ha
August
Nutrigation
Multi-K 13-0-46
1
400
August
Foliar
HaifaBonus 13-2-44
4 - 5% @ 1,000 L/ha
The latest above-mentioned case illustrates the marked role that foliar sprays can play in the mineral nutrition of olive orchards. We will now elaborate on the subject.
 
5.9 Foliar feeding with Haifa products
Foliar feeding is a fast, highly effective method of providing nutrients when used as a supplement to administer fertilizers through the soil. It is an ideal feeding method under certain growth conditions in which absorption of nutrients from the soil is inefficient, due to temporal or continuous conditions limiting nutrient absorption from the soil, such as uncontrolled weeds, a nematodes attack, water-logging, etc. Precision-timed foliar sprays are also a fast-acting and effective method for treating nutrient deficiencies and plant and fruit growth and improving quality.
 
Here are some operational tips for best results from Haifa's foliar products:
  • The best time to spray is early in the morning or in the evening, when temperatures are lower and relative humidity is comparatively high. High temperature and low humidity increase the susceptibility of the plants to injuries from sprayed chemicals. Crops must be well irrigated and must not be under water stress when the actual spraying takes place, in order to allow the plants to keep their stomata fully open to absorb the active ingredients of the spray.
  • The recommendations should be regarded as a general guide only. The exact fertilization program should be determined according to specific crop needs and the grower’s experience.
 
Haifa offers a special fertilizer line for foliar applications: HaifaBonus™, Poly-Feed™ Foliar, and Poly-Olive™. These high-K foliar formulae contain a specially developed adjuvant for better adhesion to the leaf surface, improved absorption and prolonged action.
 
Haifa Bonus
HaifaBonus is completely and readily soluble in water at all concentrations recommended for foliar applications. HaifaBonuscontains 100% nutrients and is free of potentially harmful elements. It is therefore unlikely to scorch the leaves when sprayed according to recommendations.
 
HaifaBonus is highly compatible with most pesticides used in olives. It is also compatible with other plant nutrients used for correcting common deficiencies such as magnesium, zinc and boron. It is advisable to confirm compatibility of your intended mix by preparing a sample of the spray materials at their recommended concentrations in order to rule out the possibility of a detrimental cross reaction. This mixture should be sprayed onto small area a week prior to the commercial treatment, in order to assess whether an adverse effect occurs.
 
It is recommended to apply 2 - 4 spray applications of HaifaBonus, from early spring to late summer, 3 – 4 kg Haifa Bonus / 100 liters of water (3% – 5% concentration), at a rate of 8 – 10 liters / tree (according to tree size).
 
Compatibility
Usually, no compatibility problems should be expected while tank-mixing HaifaBonus with copper fungicides and with insecticides, but hydrolysis may occur with dimethoate as it may break down, at pH 8 or higher, in one hour or less. Thus, a pH range of 5-6 should be maintained. An acidifying surfactant / adjuvant should be added to prevent alkaline hydrolysis of the pesticides and to assure nutrient uptake. Read surfactant instruction label for best results. Haifa MAP, also used as a plant nutrient, can be added to lower the pH of spray solution.
 
Table 5.9: Recommended foliar applications with HaifaBonus
Time of spray
No. of applications
Spray concentration
Spray volume(Liter / tree)
Early spring - late summer
3 - 4
3 - 5%
8 - 10
Adding Magnisal (Mg source) and boron to Haifa Bonus are preferable for the spring treatment while plain Haifa Bonus is recommended for the second spray.
 
Poly-Olive™ 15-7-30+2MgO+Micronutrients
Poly-Olive™ is an ideal fertilizer to enhance vegetative development and fruit production in olive trees.
 
Product analysis
 
 
 
Micronutrients
Total nitrogen (N)
15%
 
Iron (Fe)
1000 ppm
Nitrate nitrogen (N-NO3)
8.5%
 
Manganese (Mn)
500 ppm
Ammoniacal nitrogen (N-NH4)
1.5%
 
Zinc (Zn)
150 ppm
Ureic nitrogen (N-NH2)
5.0%
 
Boron (B)
4500 ppm
Phosphorus (P2O5)
7%
 
Copper (Cu)
110 ppm
Potassium (K2O)
30%
 
Molybdenum (Mo)
70 ppm
Magnesium (MgO)
2%
 
Iron (Fe)
1000 ppm
  • High potassium and nitrogen content to encourage shoot growth and to enhance fruit development.
  • High concentration of boron (B) to enhance fruit-setting.
It is recommended to apply Poly-Olive™ at the stage of inflorescence development, before flowering, and during the main stage of fruit development (August – September)
 
Recommended program for foliar feeding with Poly-Olive:
Table 5.10: Recommendedfoliar applications with Poly-Olive 15-7-30+2MgO+ME
Growth phase
Spray volume(L / ha)
Spray concentration
No. of applications
Intervals
Inflorescence
500-700
1% - 2%
1 – 2
2 – 3 weeks
Fruit development
500-1000
1%
2
2 – 3 weeks
Proven results
 

 

 

 
 

 

 

Figure 5.2: The effects of spraying Poly-OliveTM 15-7-30+2MgO+ME on fruit-set ratio and on fruit yield in olive trees
 
Please note that Haifa has also the following products in its foliar-feeding products portfolio:
Haifa MAP, Haifa MKP, Haifa Cal and Haifa Micro are also suitable for foliar application.
 
5.11 Nutrigation™ (fertigation)
NutrigationTM (fertigation) is a technique that combines irrigation with fertilization. During the several decades since this technique was developed, it has become well established as a potent method in modern agriculture, resulting in higher yields and improved crop quality.
 
Suitable water-soluble and chloride-free fertilizers
Application of top-quality water-soluble fertilizers through the irrigation system is the optimal method for providing balanced plant nutrition throughout the growth season. A balanced Nutrigation™ regime ensures that essential nutrients are placed precisely at the site of intensive root activity and are available in exactly the right quantity - when plants need them.
 
Haifa offers a wide range of water-soluble fertilizers for Nutrigation™. All products contain only pure plant nutrients and are free of sodium and chloride.
A binary fully soluble fertilizer composed of the two most important macronutrients, at an advantageous proportion
Soluble NPK fertilizers enriched with secondary and micro-nutrients
Mono-ammonium phosphate
Mono-potassium phosphate
Haifa’s original magnesium nitrate fertilizer
Fully soluble calcium nitrate fertilizer
Water-soluble chelated micronutrients
A high P systemic fertilizer
 
5.12 Soil application - controlled-release nutrition
Multicote™ Agri products are composed of polymer-coated nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, with release longevity of 2-8 months. This line of products releases plant nutrients gradually and steadily according to an olive tree’s needs throughout the growing season. See additional information in Appendix I.
 
 
The benefits of Multicote™ Agri products
Nutrients are supplied in accordance with specific olive tree needs which assure optimal tree development.
Single application per season - This results in a drastic reduction of field labor and application costs, as well as considerably less soil compaction.
 
Minimized losses through leaching, volatilization or fixation in the soil
  • Availability of nutrients throughout the growth cycle is ensured.
  • More efficient use of fertilizers without wastage, allowing for reduced application rates.
  • Ecologically superior (no soil or air pollution).
  • Salt accumulation in the soil is prevented.
Fertilization totally independent of irrigation
  • No need to maintain sophisticated dosing systems
  • No need for technical irrigations
It is recommended that olive plantations use Multicote™ Agri 17-9-16+2MgO, a product based on 35% nitrogen derived from Multicote™, as follows:
  • Rain-fed grown olives – by the end of the winter – before vegetative growth starts (end of February – mid March); apply Multicote™ Agri at 3 – 7 kg / tree.
  • Irrigated olives – (intensive and super-intensive grown olives) - by the end of the winter – before vegetative growth starts (end of February – mid March), apply Multicote™ Agri at 300 – 400 kg / Ha.
 
5.13 Haifa NutriNet™ - online fertilization and Nutrigation™ programs
NutriNet is a unique software program that will assist you to work out the recommended fertilizer rates according to the expected yield of olives under your growing conditions: http://www.haifa-nutrinet.com/
 
Soil-applied fertilization schedule and fertigation rates may vary according to cultivar, climatic conditions, growth stages and expected yield. By using the Haifa NutriNet™ online program, you can obtain Haifa’s recommendations most suitable to your growing conditions by selecting the expected yield, growing method and growth stages.
 
The following is an example of recommendations for two expected yield levels (2 and 6 T/ ha) of fresh olive fruit, as determined by NutriNet:
 
I – Expected yield: 2 ton / ha
Once you enter the expected yield in the table, the recommended application rateswill be displayed (Table 25)
Table 5.12: Nutrient requirements - olives
Expected yield:
2
Tons / ha
Nutrient requirements (Kg / Ha)
N
P2O5
K2O
CaO
MgO
16
3
24
6
2
Uptake by whole plants
37
10
45
27
14
Available nutrients from recycled previous crop
8
2
14
3
3
Recommended application rates
36
95
31
11
11
In the example below (Table 5.13), the assumption is that the fertilization in the following olive grove is applied partially by top-dressing (Table 5.14), and partially by Nutrigation (fertigation) (Table 5.15). However, any other application methods can be selected and the recommendations may vary accordingly.
 
Table 5.13: Fertilization – olive (kg / ha)
Irrigation method:
Drip
Fertilization method:
Top dressing + NutrigationTM
 
N
P2O5
K2O
CaO
MgO
NPK required Kg / Ha
36
95
31
11
11
Top / side dressing
11
57
12
9
9
NutrigationTM
25
38
19
2
2
Total
36
95
31
11
11
 
Table 5.14: Top / side dressing - olives
 
All nutrient and fertilizer values are in Kg / Ha
 
N
P2O5
K2O
CaO
MgO
Fertilization method:
Top dressing + NutrigationTM
NPK required Kg / Ha
36
95
31
11
11
Top / side dressing
11
57
12
9
9
NutrigationTM
25
38
19
2
2
Total
36
95
31
11
11
 
All nutrient and fertilizer values are in Kg / Ha
 
N
P2O5
K2O
CaO
MgO
Suggested top / side dressing
11
57
12
9
9
 
Suggested fertilizers
Ammonium nitrate (33%)
7
Superphosphate (45%)
127
Multi-K (46%)
26
Calcium nitrate (26%)
35
Magnesium sulfate (16%)
56
 
Table 5.15: Water soluble and chloride-free fertilizers rates for Nutrigation™
All nutrient and fertilizer values are in Kg / Ha
 
N
P2O5
K2O
CaO
MgO
Suggested NutrigationTM
25
38
19
2
2
 
Suggested fertilizers
Ammonium nitrate (33%)
29
Multi M.A.P. (12-61-0)
62
Multi-K (13-0-46)
41
Multi Cal (26%)
8
Magnisal
12
II - Expected yield: 6 ton / ha
 
Once you enter the expected yield in the table, the recommended application rates will be displayed (Table 5.16).
 
Table 5.16: Nutrient requirements - olives
Expected yield:
6
Tons / Ha
Nutrient requirements (Kg / Ha)
N
P2O5
K2O
CaO
MgO
48
9
72
18
5
Uptake by whole plants
91
23
115
61
29
Available nutrients from recycled previous crop
8
2
14
3
3
Recommended application rates
101
110
101
28
26
In the example below (Table 5.17), the assumption is that the fertilization in the following olive grove is applied partially by top-dressing (Table 5.18), and partially by Nutrigation (fertigation) (Table 5.19). However, any other application methods can be selected and the recommendations may vary accordingly.
 
Table 5.17: Fertilization – olive (kg / ha)
Irrigation method:
Drip
Fertilization method:
Top dressing + NutrigationTM
 
N
P2O5
K2O
CaO
MgO
NPK required Kg / Ha
101
110
101
28
26
Top / side dressing
30
66
40
22
21
NutrigationTM
71
44
61
6
5
Total
101
110
101
28
26
 
Table 5.18: Top / side dressing - olive
 
All nutrient and fertilizer values are in Kg / Ha
 
N
P2O5
K2O
CaO
MgO
Suggested top / side dressing
30
66
40
c22
21
 
Suggested fertilizers
Ammonium nitrate (33%)
18
Superphosphate (45%)
147
Multi-K (46%)
87
Calcium nitrate (26%)
85
Magnesium sulfate
131
 
Table 5.19: Water soluble and chloride-free fertilizer rates for Nutrigation™
All nutrient and fertilizer values are in Kg / Ha
 
N
P2O5
K2O
CaO
MgO
Suggested NutrigationTM
71
44
61
6
5
 
Suggested fertilizers
Ammonium nitrate (33%)
116
Haifa NAO (12-61-0)
72
Multi-K (13-0-46)
133
Haifa Cal (26%)
23
Magnisal
31
 
Need more information about growing olives? You can always return to the olive tree fertilizer & olive crop guide table of contents