Olives Are A New Crop In Jackson County
Extension Agent III
Jackson County Extension
Issue/Alert Affecting Crop: In the Florida panhandle, olives are usually found in grocery stores and on salad bars. In Jackson County olives are found on the tree in the Compass Lake in the Hills area. Don Mueller, a former gas company employee, was initially exposed to olive production in southern Europe. Since 2000 he has cultivate a five acre plot and identified varieties suitable to the area.
Jackson County's First Olive Grove Photo Credits: Charles Brasher
Olives are a relatively carefree crop for the area, but require careful transplanting, weed control, and some attention to insect control in their first year. Mr. Mueller purchases his new varieties from various sources, and is a Certified Nurseryman. He has propagated plants from trees he grew out and sells certain successful varieties. The majority of his production and pest control information comes from the University of California-Davis Horticulture Department, and UF/IFAS Specialists.
He closely monitors for grasshoppers, the major pest issue. So far a Sevin and Neem oil mix have proved satisfactory at controlling grasshoppers. But he always is seeking alternatives and cost cutting methods.
Presently, he is looking for alternative sources of fertilizers, planning to try mushroom compost or chicken litter. His tree selection is based on the varieties which withstand the north Florida heat and cold extremes down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit without sustaining damage to the trunk and feeder limbs.