Olive tree pruning period

The olive tree

The olive tree is a very long-lived plant: it begins to bear fruit from the third-fourth year of life and then enters full productivity from the ninth-tenth year. Given that it reaches maturity after the age of 50, it is not surprising to find olive trees over a thousand years old. It is an evergreen plant, with a silver-gray bark, a twisted stem and shallow roots, which occupy a large area around the tree. The flowers are white in clusters of 10-15, which bloom in a period from May to early June, depending on the area and the variety cultivated. The olive tree produces the famous olive, whose characteristics (appearance and weight) vary according to the variety, climate and cultivation techniques. One of the rules to follow to get a great yield is to carry out a correct pruning.

Carry out the pruning of the olive tree

It is not necessary to prune the olive tree every year. The important thing is to remember that this is a very delicate operation: if it is true that any type of plant must be pruned carefully, with olive trees you need to pay even more attention. Among other things, pruning is not a simple aesthetic intervention or to be performed at random, but must be based on scientific principles, as it is one of the main factors to obtain a high yield and a healthy plant. First of all, it is necessary to know how to recognize the different types of olive branches: those closest to the stem, in fact, grow more than those further away. This is why an uncultivated olive tree has a bushy appearance, but this affects productivity: a high yield, in fact, is guaranteed by open branches that receive a lot of light and air.

The period of olive tree pruning

The olive tree pruning period is between the end of winter and the beginning of spring (the preferred months are February and March): at this time, in fact, the first phases of the plant’s fruiting have not yet begun. If the olive trees are located in an area of ​​the north or affected by a strong temperature range, it is advisable to postpone the pruning intervention. This is due to the fact that drops in temperature or late frosts can damage the newly pruned plant. In this case, the olive tree pruning period extends until May. There are three types of pruning interventions, linked to the age of the plant: a light pruning, for example, must be carried out when the plant does not yet produce olives, while the common prunings are of medium character (with a cut of 20-35% of the crown). Extensive pruning is carried out only if you want to reinvigorate or rebuild the plant (to be done with great caution).

Olive tree pruning period: How pruning operations are carried out

There are three main rules that must be followed when pruning olive trees: first of all, it is necessary to distinguish between young branches (which must not be pruned, as they are more productive) and older ones. In fact, the branches more than two years old do not produce fruit. Second, it must be pruned in such a way as to leave a kind of “tip”: the olive tree grows above all in height and its branches need light in order to bear fruit. Finally, precisely for the latter reason, the pruning operation must mainly concern the internal branches, as they prevent the plant from receiving good lighting. Pruning must be done through clean and precise cuts, without damaging the bark to avoid the onset of future diseases.

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