Q.Fruitless Olive Trees — Compare Wilsonii To Swan Hill.
I want to plant a non-messy olive tree to keep a Mediterranean feel to my backyard landscape. Please let me know the similarities and differences. I cannot make a decision.
The spot for planting is southern exposure, Southern California.
Specifically, I would like to know the speed of growth, watering needs, possible fruit production in the future and if they are prone to diseases.
Thank you in advance, Claudia
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
There are a few things to consider here.
Wilsonii will make fruit on occasion. They are very slow growing, and will be very drought tolerant, as are all olives. (And any Mediterranean species) Keep in mind that they can get around 30 feet tall at maturity.
Swan Hill is a wonderful specimen. They don't produce near as much pollen as a normal olive, and is quite a bit faster in growth, too. They are completely sterile, and will never bear fruit.
All olives are very prone to disease, so proper soil management will be key. There are many pathogens in your area that will gladly take a tree in no time.
Prep your soil by adding DOLOMITIC LIME and WETTABLE SULFUR, according to all packaging instructions. Add just thing layer of compost before you dig and till your spot. Let the tree dry before watering, or just don't water it. They are very drought tolerant. (For the first month, you will want to keep the soil SLIGHTLY moist until it is established)
Here is an article that will help you with the care of olive trees: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/olive/olive-tree-care-information.htm