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Climate For Olive Trees Essay

996 words - 4 pages

“Climate Conditions for Growing Olive Trees”
The olive tree is a type of evergreen tree that can grow to heights of fifty feet and has a remarkable life expectancy of 500 years. The tree bears the olive fruit, a green drupe that gradually turns blackish-purple as it ripens. Cultivated since antiquity, the olive remains one of the most sought-after agricultural commodities in the world. Olives are the source of olive oil, a common ingredient used in cooking, as well as in the production of certain cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Demand for olives has increased in recent years due to studies confirming that consumption of olive oil can help prevent heart disease and reduce the risk of some ...view middle of the document...

In the winter, the subtropical highs shift southward toward the equator, exposing Mediterranean climate regions to storms that bring desperately needed rainfall. Average annual precipitation amounts vary between 11 and 35 inches, most of which falls during the winter months. Situated near large bodies of water, locations with Mediterranean climates experience a moderate temperature range throughout the year. Prevailing winds blowing in from the water prevent locations along the coast from registering bitterly cold temperatures in the winter and very hot temperatures in the summer. Locations further inland encounter larger, but still moderate, annual temperature ranges. Generally, temperatures during the warmest months in Mediterranean climates average between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, although some inland locations can experience triple-digit temperatures during the summer. Temperatures during the winter months rarely fall below freezing.
The relatively mild year-round temperatures allow for a long growing season, making Mediterranean climate regions especially attractive to olive growers. The olive growing season begins in the spring as temperatures warm to around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, causing trees to blossom after a dormant winter. Frost can damage the flower buds, but the mild spring temperatures in Mediterranean climates provide hospitable conditions for the budding to occur. Once the actual olive fruit emerges, it requires plenty of sunlight and relatively high temperatures to continue growing and ripen properly, conditions Mediterranean climates amply provide in the summer. To survive the dry summer months, an olive tree has certain features that allow it to retain sufficient moisture. Olive trees have relatively shallow, but extensive root systems that soak up any water in the soil. Complementing the roots are leaves that have “a protective coating and hairy undersides that slow transpiration” (“Olive Tree,” 2001). By autumn, the olive harvest begins as growers pick the green olives from their plants. The remaining olives will continue to ripen through autumn and even into the winter in some Mediterranean climate regions. Ultimately, the timing of a harvest depends on how the growers intend on using the olives. For instance, olives used in the production of the...

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