Olive tree in Spain-Irrigation control-Sensors-Probes-Varieties and care

The olive en España es uno de los árboles más antiguos y más apreciado a lo largo de la cuenca del Mediterráneo, en donde se concentra el 80% de la producción mundial. Pero podemos encontrar olivares en todas las comunidades, excepto Asturias, Santander.

The olive tree has been known in Spain since the Romans brought it and its production continues to grow, especially in the central and southern areas. 25% of oil production is of Spanish origin, Andalusia standing out. In this Community, cooperatives and appellations of origin abound. It is currently the country with the largest olive grove area in the world.

También destacan las Islas Canarias con olivos centenarios y en la actualidad nuevos sistemas de producción, con cultivos intensivos y ecológicos.

Plantae sensors and probes in olive plantations in Spain

Plantae is dedicated to the design, development and commercialization of wireless sensor technology for saving water and improving crop production. Plantae technology is very important in olive trees. That is why we are going to collect information about the Olive tree in Spain, its varieties and its need for irrigation control.

To control the irrigation of an olive grove, both traditional and intensive, the company carries out a detailed study of the plantation, the climate, the terrain, the size of the farm, the type of irrigation and resorts to satellite images if it sees fit.

According to the region, we study all the phenology of the crop to detail the number of sensors, we assess the depth of the root system and proceed to the installation after testing the farmer.

The olive grower can also have an advisor and maintenance from our technicians.

The farmer can have real-time information on the humidity and conductivity of the cultivated area.

Scheme of irrigation-Olive trees in Spain
Scheme of irrigation-Olive trees in Spain

Nutrients that the olive grove needs

One of the best ways to fertilize the olive tree is to leave the stubble and shredded pruning remains as a cover. While providing nutrients, they serve to store moisture.

Además, necesita minerales como:

  • Nitrogen: provides development to the tree. Its deficiency produces small trees and deformed leaves.
  • Phosphorus: to promote flowering and fruit setting.
  • Potassium: which influences the transport of sugars. Benefits the formation of the fruit.
  • Calcium: promotes root development and improves nutrient absorption.

Irrigation of the olive tree in Spain

A good part is rainfed and another is irrigated. The areas with the highest production and best quality are those with the highest rainfall and the number of hours of sunshine per year. There are more and more rainfed areas, for this reason it is common to resort to irrigation and even better if it is controlled with soil moisture and temperature sensors.

Irrigation can be localized or drip. It is necessary to avoid puddles and in general the excess of humidity that can favor the appearance of diseases with fungi that affect the olive tree and the fruit.

Currently, many areas of intensive and super-intensive olive tree. In this case, controlled irrigation is especially important and Plantae plays a decisive factor with the installation of sensors that can even be buried to greater comfort of farming implements.

The keys to maintaining an olive grove are:

  • That the trees are separated so that the air can circulate and the sun reaches them well.
  • That they are correctly pruned.
  • Have avegetable cover on the ground with weeds and the rest of the pruning, better crushed, which serves as vegetable compost and at the same time preserves soil moisture.
  • That it has controlled irrigation so that it does not suffer water stress.
  • Fungus control. The best way to avoid them is to control soil moisture. If necessary, apply fungicides.
  • Avoid accumulation of salts that we can measure with the conductivity sensor. These accumulated salts mean that the root system does not absorb minerals properly.
  • Control the phenological phases of the crop with the meteorological station that indicates climatic changes.
Olivo intensivo con sensores
Intensive olive tree with irrigation controlled by Plantae sensors

Olive growing areas in Spain


In Spain ten production areas are fundamentally divided:

  • Picual: Jaén, north of the province of Granada and east of Córdoba.
  • From hojiblanco- (hojiblanca): Carrasqueña de Córdoba or Picudo, Chirrío and others.
  • Western Andalusia: Huelva, Cádiz and Seville.
  • Eastern Andalusia: Almería, part of Granada and Malaga. Vélez-Málaga, Aloreña, etc.
  • West: Extremadura, Ávila, Salamanca and Zamora.
  • Center- (Cornicabra): Castilla - La Mancha and Madrid.
  • Raise: Valencia, Alicante and Murcia.
  • Ebro Valley: Aragón, La Rioja, Navarra and Álava.
  • Tortosa: Castellón, Bajo Ebro, Montsiá de Tarragona and Castellón.
  • Arbequina: Cataluña, salvo al Bajo Ebro, Baleares y Álava.
Hectáreas de olivos en España
Hectares of olive trees in Spain
Hub in olive grove
Hub receptor en finca de olivo en España

Varieties of the most outstanding olive trees in Spain:

  • Picual, destaca por su gran estabilidad y alto contenido en ácido oléico y polifenoles. Abundante en la zona del Picual y Andalucía occidental. También algunos olivares en Galicia y Canarias.
  • Hojiblanca en la zona del Hojiblanco y Andalucía Oriental y Canarias.
  • Lechin from Seville in Western Andalusia.Olives
  • Verdial de Huevar.
  • Manzanilla Serrana en Andalucía Occidental y Algono en Canarias.
  • Gordal Sevillana.
  • Lechin from Granada.
  • Verdial of Vélez-Málaga.
  • Aloreña.
  • Manzanilla Cacerena.
  • Manzanilla or Corresgueña from Badajoz.
  • Morisca in the Badajoz area.
  • Verdial from Badajoz.
  • Redondilla in Toledo
  • Cornicabra en Extremadura, Toledo, Ciudad Real y alguno en Canarias. Aceite picual
  • Castellana in the downtown area.
  • Alfafara in the downtown area.
  • Gordal of Hellín.
  • Gordal de Canarias.
  • Blanqueta in Valencia.
  • Villalonga in Alicante.
  • Lechin from Granada.
  • Changlot Real in the Valencian Community.
  • Empeltre en Baleares.
  • arga in Catalonia and the Valencian Community.
  • Arbequina en las zonas de Cataluña, Islas Baleares, Islas Canarias y Galicia.
  • Marteño.
molino de aceituna
Grind olives

Olives and oil

The main productions of the olive grove are table olives and olive oil.

The technologies of the 20th century revolutionized the olive grove. The first cooperatives were born, in order to face the costs of the machines, both for harvesting and for the production of oil. The oil is extracted in oil mills.

Steps for oil production:

  • The first thing is the collection of the olives, either by hitting the olive tree with a long stick or currently with vibrators that make the olives fall on nylon meshes, preventing them from mixing with those that had already fallen. before to the ground. Then they spread and aerate.
  • Grinding which consists of crushing the olives. The juice of the olives is what gives rise to the oil.
  • Pressing , with several phases of centrifugation and filtering.
  • Finally, decanting the oil, separating all the solid waste.

Types of oil

  • The highest quality « extra virgin olive oil «.
  • Virgin olive oil , with higher acidity than the previous one.
  • Ordinary virgin olive oil.
  • Finally Olive-pomace oil .

Denominations of origin of the olive tree in Spain

Downtown area

  1. Field of Calatrava. Exclusively with cornicabra and picual varieties.
  2. Montiel field. The oil from the province of Ciudad Real.
  3. Alcarria oil. Municipalities of Cuenca and Guadalajara.
  4. Mountains of Toledo. Regions of Toledo and Ciudad Real. Especially extra virgin oil of the cornicabra variety.

North Zone

  1. Oil from Rioja. Olive groves alternate with large vineyard plantations.
  2. Denomination of origin of Navarra oil. Especially in the south of the province.
  3. Terra Alta oil. Regions of the Ribera del Ebro and southern Catalonia.
  4. Lower Aragon. Regions of Zaragoza and Teruel. varieties: basically arbequina and royal
  5. Sierra de Moncayo. Regions of Zaragoza and varieties: empeltre and arbequina.
  6. Siurana. In the province of Tarragona. It is fruity and sweet.
  7. L´Emporda oil. Municipalities in the north of Catalonia. Varieties: Argudell, Curivell, Llei de Cadaqués and Arbequina.
  8. Baix Ebre-Montsià. Regions of Tarragona, Castellón and Teruel.
  9. Les Garrigues. In Lleida with varieties the arbequina and verdiell varieties.

Area of Extremadura

  1. Monterrubio Oil. In Badajoz with varieties: picual, cornicabra, mollar, corniche, pico-limon, morel and ergot.
  2. Gata-Hurdes. The regions of the Sierra Alta de Cáceres.


  1. Lucena. Municipalities of Cordoba. Varieties: hojiblanca, Lucentina and other secondary varieties such as arbequina, picual, lechín, tempranilla, ocal, campanil and chorruo.
  2. Antequera. In the province of Malaga with many varieties, highlighting: hojiblanca, picual, arbequina, suckling pig from Seville, picudo, gordal from Archidona, verdial from Vélez-Málaga and verdial from Huévar.
  3. Baena. In Córdoba with the varieties. Carrasqueño from Córdoba, lechín, jardúo, hojiblanca and picual.
  4. Steppe. Municipalities of Seville and Córdoba. The varieties: hojiblanca, arbequina, manzanilla, picual and suckling pig from Seville.
  5. Montoro-Adamuz. In Córdoba and varieties picual, suckling pig, black nevadillo, picudo and carrasqueño.
  6. Mountains of Granada. Regions of Jaén, Córdoba and Granada. The varieties of picual, pike, loaime, negrillo from Iznalloz, scarabajuelo, gordal from Granada and hojiblanca.
  7. Poniente de Granada. Con variedades: hojiblanca, picual, picudo, lloreño, nevadillo de Alhama de Granada y loaime.
  8. Priego de Córdoba. Picual, picudo and hojiblanca varieties.
  9. Sierra de Cádiz. Varieties: suckling pig from Seville, manzanilla, verdial from Huévar, verdial from Cádiz, hojiblanca, picual, lameña from Montilla and arbequina.
  10. Sierra de Cazorla. In Jaén to the southeast. The Province that has the most olive trees in all of Spain. Especially extra virgin picual oil.
  11. Sierra Magina. In the south of Jaén. We continue with the picual and manzanillo variety from Jaén.
  12. Sierra del Segura. Al noroeste de Jaén. Destaca como en toda la provincia el aceite de oliva virgen la variedad picual. Además, verdala, royal y manzanillo de Jaén.
  13. Protected Geographical Indication Jaén oil. With varieties: picual, chamomile from Jaén, royal from Cazorla, carrasqueño from Alcaudete, hojiblanca.

Islas Baleares

  1. Protected Geographical Indication oil d’Eivissa. Olives: mallorquina, empeltre, arbequina and picual.
  2. D.O. Olive from Majorca. With varieties: mallorquina, empeltre, arbequina and picual.

Valencian Community

  1. Oil from the Valencian Community. Regions of Castellón and Valencia with traditional and intensive crops.
Mapa de olivos en España
Mapa de olivos en España


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