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Cal Poly grad creates new fruitless olive tree 

New Western Weeping Olive Tree developed on Santa Margarita Ranch

Shane Hayward; Blair Shurtleff, Inventor; Craig Wilson, GGF Farm Manager; Wayne Tyo, Mollie Field, and Barry Johnson, TMHA Division Director.

Shane Hayward; Blair Shurtleff, Inventor; Craig Wilson, GGF Farm Manager; Wayne Tyo, Mollie Field, and Barry Johnson, TMHA Division Director.

The Western Weeping Olive Fruitless Tree, developed on the Central Coast, was recently US Patent Approved. There are over 800 million olive trees currently growing in the world and now one unique tree from San Luis Obispo County is available.

The new tree was invented and developed in the historic Santa Margarita Ranch Area. According to the inventor, Blair Shurtleff, there has not been a new olive tree to come along that has all of the great qualities of olives such as drought tolerant, multi or single trunk, beautiful bark, able to withstand temperatures of extreme highs and periods of low teens.

Shurtleff has spent 18 years growing this tree, putting it through 6 formal years of rigorous testing in a licensed and secure testing facility, used one of the finest plant patent attorneys, John Peck, KPPB, of Newport Beach California. Typically, trial periods for plant patents usually only last 2-3 years.

“I have spent years online researching every olive tree, olive tree nurseries, worldwide Plant Breeding and Patent offices to guarantee that there is no other olive tree like this in the world,” said Shurtleff. “This is the first new ornamental olive tree patent to come along in over 20 years and it was developed right here on the Central Coast.”

“I have collected trees from all over the world and I set out to find something different,” said Shurtleff. “Unique plants have always been my passion and this invention will change the olive tree landscape market. This is the most unique and spectacular tree to enter the market in years!”

Shurtleff, a horticulturalist and the inventor of this new weeping olive was a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo major in Ornamental Horticulture/Fruit Science in the 70s and is a long time resident of this county.

How is the tree special?

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 6.41.37 AMIt weeps: Long, flexible weeping habit with 6′ (when mature) weeping structure. It cascades. The branches shoot straight up then after a few months turn and grow down.

Next to no leaf drop: Very few leaves ever drop from this tree. There is next to no clean up. This is also excellent for landscape plants in fire prone areas.

The leaf color: The Western Weeping Olive Tree leaf has a deep, dark green and SMOOTH top side with the soft grey ‘olive color’ underside. It will shimmer in the wind.

The leaf size: Over twice the leaf size of all other olive trees.

Fruitless: All of the Western Weeping Olive Trees set no olives but a rare few set some ‘shot berries,’ a very immature fruit that never matures or drops on the ground, dry, so no hazards or mess! This is the only fruitless olive under patent in the world.

Care: The olive requires little care and can be left natural for life. It can be pruned and shaped for patio trees or can be laced to enhance the weeping characteristics. Needs little fertilizer and always has its rich, dark green leaves, with beautiful olive color undersides. Grows in the same soil mix as all other olives. Grows in zones 8-11.

High wind resistant: Tested in 70-80 mph winds with no leaf loss, no branches broken and little leaf tear.

Deer resistant: These trees were tested with and against five other varieties of olives and scored number one in deer resistance. The deer normally left the Western Weeping completely alone but on some consumed some leaves or few leaf tips never to touch again. These trees were tested in extreme deer conditions.

Landscape uses: Line driveways, parkways, shopping centers, wineries, plant collectors, windbreaks, privacy barriers, Parking lots, commercial developments, by pools and walkways.

A grand release is available to Central Coast residents at wholesale prices $14 to $150 per tree. June 1st & 2nd at Growing Grounds 3740 Orcutt Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 9am -4pm. Thirty-percent of the proceeds go to Transitions Mental Health.

For more information about the tree, contact Blair Shurtleff at 805.602.7321 or or visit



The Tree Man
2630 Ramada Drive
Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 227-6225



About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or follow his blog.