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How to prune olive trees

How to prune olive trees

Before proceeding with the description on how to prune olive trees, it is good to know that these operations cannot be performed by anyone, as it is necessary to have a certain professionalism, be familiar with and acquire notions about cultivation techniques, those that are suitable climatic environments. , how and when to prune. It is not possible to improvise also because it is necessary to practice specific treatments. The olive trees, coming from the regions of the Middle East, are specimens that if left to grow without any intervention take on a very irregular shape, with a crown that develops either in height or in width and able to reach a maximum size of about 20 meters high. From this it is clear that pruning is a necessary intervention to have specimens that are always luxuriant and healthy. Pruning is also necessary to eliminate some parts of the plant infested with parasites or diseases that can be fatal for these specimens. Among the main ones are: the oil fly, the cochineal, the mange, the ringworm, the leprosy and the peacock’s eye.

How to prune olive trees


To understand how to prune olive trees it is necessary to implement these techniques according to precise periods and rules. In general, pruning takes place to lighten the plant and thin it out in such a way as to facilitate the filtration of sunlight in the innermost part of the plant; the cutting also takes place to eliminate the branches infested with parasites or fungi, thus avoiding to expand throughout the aerial apparatus of the specimen. The olive trees are pruned in alternate years, usually the year preceding the one in which it is assumed that there is no birth and development of the fruit. It is more or less intense according to the fertility of the soil. In general, the branches that do not produce fruit and used to make wood are cut, from the end of October until the beginning of January, or during the olive harvest itself. It is necessary to take into account the young branches that must not be cut because the production of the following year depends on them. Olive trees adapt very easily to the area in which they are grown, they do not like harsh climates, frosts, temperatures below zero. Pruning makes them sensitive, so it can be moved during the spring season.

How to prune olive trees


After understanding what are the principles on how to prune olive trees, it is necessary to expose what are the essential techniques and tools for this practice. As for the techniques, they are divided into mechanized and manual. The choice varies according to the number of olive trees to be pruned, whether you work in a company or as an individual. The indispensable tools for pruning olive trees are: the pruner, the ladder, the scissors, the shear, the manual or compressed air hacksaw. Before proceeding with the cuts it is necessary to disinfect all the equipment well, especially if you work on infected and sick specimens, thus managing not to transmit the disease to other olive trees. Even after cutting the branches, it is necessary to use products to quickly heal the wounds and at the same time to protect them from frost and parasites. It is possible to apply sulfur or copper sulphate products to the mastic area. Doing so avoids that the olive tree is attacked by parasites or that the frost ruin its foliar apparatus.

How to prune olive trees


To prune the olive trees you have to proceed step by step. First we proceed with the cutting of the branches that are broken, dry or affected by pathologies. If the branches have a diameter of about three centimeters, you can use the shears, for the larger branches you can use the hacksaw; if the branches cannot be reached very easily, use the pruner (shear operated from the ground). Regarding the cut, whatever tool you use, the cut must be clean, without burrs and to be made close to the main trunk. Subsequently, the wounds are covered with healing mastic, thus avoiding infections and deadly fungal attacks. In detail, it is necessary to prune the suckers (branches that develop upwards and inside the aerial part); the branches (small branches that are not fed by the plant in the right way). After the elimination of broken, dry, infected and sucking branches, it ends with the thinning of the foliage. In this way the light will filter inside the foliage itself, facilitating the development of the olive trees.

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