Do Olive Tree Roots Cause Damage? (Let’s find out!)

Do Olive Tree Roots Cause Damage
Do Olive Tree Roots Cause Damage

Olive trees have been cultivated for thousands of years and are known for their tasty fruits and precious oil. Olive trees are also known for their beauty, their ability to withstand harsh environments, and, most importantly, for producing one of the healthiest oils in the world. Olive trees can grow up to 40 feet tall and have a deep root system that can reach up to 40 feet deep.

But do olive tree roots cause damage? Olive root systems are generally extensive and can grow 40 feet (12.2 meters) deep, according to the University of Idaho. If you plant your olive tree too close to structures, its roots can damage the foundation. And if the roots are too close to the sewer, they will find cracks or loose joints in the pipes, enter these openings, grow, and eventually block the sewer pipe.

Read on to find out why and how olive tree roots can be problematic and the benefits of adding olive trees to your garden or property. You might also enjoy reading: Must Know For Successfully Growing and Caring For Olive Trees!

Olive Tree Roots: Do They Cause Damage?

Olive trees can cause damage because they have extensive roots that grow deep and wide. Olive trees can reach up to four times the horizontal distance of a tree’s crown and can potentially cause damage to underground utility lines, water pipes, and irrigation systems. You can find most tree roots in the top 6 to 24 inches of the soil, as they occupy an area of two to four times the diameter of the tree crown, according to Colorado State University Extension.

Also, keep in mind that most roots grow within 1-1.5 meters of the soil surface, which means that they rarely go deep enough to cause damage to building foundations or road surfaces. Generally, more than 50 percent of a tree’s roots are located in the top six inches of soil (Source: Iowa State University)

Moreover, olive tree roots are not very aggressive and are not known to cause significant damage to surrounding structures. As long as olive trees are grown at a safe distance from buildings and other infrastructures, they are unlikely to be a problem. In fact, olive trees are often used as a means of erosion control, and their roots can help stabilize soil, preventing landslides and protecting natural habitats.

When Can Olive Tree Be Problematic?

In certain situations, olive roots can be problematic. For example, if an olive tree is planted too close to a building or a road, its roots can grow under the foundation or the pavement and cause it to crack, leading to costly repairs. This is why it is recommended to maintain a safe distance when planting olive trees and consult an expert if you’re unsure.

Another potential issue with olive tree roots is their ability to absorb large quantities of water, which can cause dehydration in nearby plants. Therefore, it’s advisable to water your olive tree deeply but infrequently to prevent excessive water loss in surrounding plants.

Furthermore, if you are planning to remove an olive tree or its roots, it’s essential to seek professional help. Olive tree roots are hard and resilient, making them challenging to remove without damaging surrounding structures or soil. They may require the use of special machinery and equipment, which is best handled by experts.

Source: Iowa State University

Source: Iowa State University

Are Tea Olive Tree Roots Invasive?

Olive tree roots are not generally considered invasive because they tend only to spread 3 to 5 feet (91 to 152 cm) deep and are particularly slow growing. However, it is best to avoid planting an olive tree within 15 to 20 feet (4.6 to 6.1 meters) of buildings, homes, sidewalks, or other pavement areas to prevent the possibility of problems as the tree matures in age.

Because olive tree roots are not generally considered invasive, olive tree roots do cause damage, but the damage they cause is minimal and usually limited to surface areas.

Olive tree roots have evolved over the years to adapt to dry and rocky terrains. They have a unique root system that can absorb moisture from the atmosphere and store it in their leaves, which makes them less dependent on water from the soil. The roots of olive trees are also known for being deep-rooted, which means they go straight down instead of spreading out horizontally like some other trees.

However, there are instances where olive trees can cause damage to surrounding structures. One of the main reasons is when they are planted too close to buildings or walls. Olive roots can penetrate cracks or small crevices and cause damage over time, which is why it is essential to consider the distance from the tree to any surrounding structures before planting an olive tree in your garden (Source: Hunker)

Another way that olive tree roots can cause damage is through the build-up of pressure. Over time, the roots can grow and increase in size, and if they encounter an obstacle, such as a wall or pavement, they can exert pressure and cause damage.

Moreover, olive tree roots can also clog pipes and drainage systems that are nearby. The roots can penetrate and grow inside, which can cause blockages and costly repairs, which is also why it’s essential to ensure that the olive tree is at a safe distance from any pipes or drainage systems.

So, Do Olive Tree Roots Cause Damage?

Generally, tree roots can damage a house or building foundation because they are very opportunistic and grow and penetrate where it is easiest to develop. For example, if there is a breach or a crack nearby, olive tree roots can and will exploit those small voids in search of moisture (Source: Purdue University)

Benefits Of Planting Olive Tree

Also, adding an olive tree to your property elevates its beauty and could increase its value. Research has revealed that mature trees increase the worth of a property by up to 12 percent (Source: Pennsylvania State University)

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Wrapping Up

Olive tree roots do cause damage, but the damage is usually minimal and limited to the surface area. Also, olive tree roots are non-invasive and do not seek water or nutrients from other plants.

However, to prevent damage from happening, it is crucial to consider the distance from where you plant your olive tree to any surrounding structures, pipes, or drainage systems.

With the proper care, olive trees can thrive in any garden without causing any harm. Olive trees are incredibly valuable, and with proper care and management, they can enhance your landscape and provide you with delicious fruits and oil for years to come.


Hello friends, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind Plants Heaven is a blog that shares information about preparing, creating, and maintaining gardens in and out of your home, regardless of where you live. My goal is to help you learn to love gardening and reap the benefits that come with it. I am still learning; therefore, the information I share on this site may not always be “expert” advice or information. But, I do my VERY best to make sure the information shared on this blog is both accurate and helpful.

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