How much water does the olive grove need?

The amount of water the olive grove needs will depend on multiple factors. The most determining factors are the characteristics of the soil, age of the tree, climatic conditions or planting setting…

According to Marco de Plantación:

In a traditional olive grove in the early stages of growth (first years of life), the amount of water needed may be less, ranging between 1,500 and 3,000 liters per year. In full production it requires a minimum of 2,500 to 3,000 m3/ha per year.

Except for these last two years in which we have suffered a great drought, when we talk about dryland olive groves, the average rainfall usually covers 60-70% of the olive grove’s needs…

In an intensive olive grove this figure can reach up to 5,000 m3/ha given that the planting density is greater than in the traditional olive grove and is between 200 and 600 trees per hectare. The useful life of an intensive olive plantation is usually around 40 years.

A super-intensive olive grove is capable of reducing water consumption compared to the intensive one, reaching 3,000 m3/ha with a planting density of between 1,000 and 2,000 trees per hectare. An additional advantage is the complete mechanization of the harvest through special plows and the reduction of production costs. In return, the super-intensive olive grove has a useful life of between 15 and 20 years.

Even though these are reference figures, it is very important to know the type of soil and the evapotranspiration that exists in the area in order to be able to maximally adjust the amount of water that will be applied in each irrigation.

Furthermore, the use of sensors can reduce water consumption for this crop by up to 35% simply by using soil sensors and monitoring water consumption.

Water control in the olive grove is essential:

Water control is essential in the olive grove to:

1. Improve yields: Excess water can cause olives to develop larger stones than expected.

2. Control of diseases due to excess humidity.

3. Improve the absorption of nutrients and fertilizers.

At Morales Oils we recommend complementing rainwater with drip irrigation, preventing the olive grove from suffering water stress in key stages such as spring, during the pre-flowering period, and in September and October during fruit consolidation.

We recommend the use of humidity sensors so that you can check the hydration level of your olive trees as well as keep track of the amount of liters of rainwater.