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Prune the olive tree

How to prune the olive tree: basic tips

The numerous techniques of pruning vary according to the specific cultivation conditions and on the basis of the variation of certain social factors. An element that can help the user to understand how to prune the olive tree consists in the careful evaluation of the age of the plant, its training system, the load of the crops, as well as about the use of the product, its environmental conditions. and the fertility of the soil where the olive tree was previously planted. In case of doubt it is preferable to prune the specimen as little as possible, proceeding from top to bottom and first make massive cuts, followed by small ones in order to correct the divergences between one branch and another, especially for as far as size is concerned. Some practical tips on how to prune the

Thinning and types of branches

Performing the thinning of your olive tree means carrying out a real reduction operation, which consists in suppressing the entire shoot, or in reducing the length of the main axis by cutting near a lateral shoot or branch, which will then take on the role of terminal branch. Proper thinning must be carried out so that the cut is directly opposed to the natural bearing of the plant. An adequate distinction must then be made between the extension branches, (easily recognizable by their pendulous posture) the suckers, which arise from the latent buds located on the trunk, the suckers (located along the trunk and on the stump of the plant) and finally the fruiting branches. , that is to say those that the following year will bear fruit.

When to prune


Pruning must be done between the end of winter and the flowering of the tree you own. A cut made when it is clear how to prune the olive will stimulate the metabolism and growth of the specimen. In mild climates, without spring frosts, pruning can be started even in the middle of winter. The situation is different for non-temperate areas, but with cold climates, where pruning is risky if done before the olive tree sprouts. Frost can damage the remaining tissue and delay the repair of a possible ‘wound’. It should also be emphasized that a pruning carried out with considerable delay does not damage the plant irreversibly, but can in any case reduce its seasonal vegetative growth in a rather conspicuous way.

Pruning the olive tree: Intensity and frequency of olive tree pruning


The intensity of pruning should be adjusted taking into account all the factors affecting the vigor of the plants, including age, crop load, soil fertility, water availability and the length of the growing season. As a general rule, the greater the intensity of the cut, the stronger the vegetative response of the plant will be; it follows that pruning must be more severe with old trees and less conspicuous in the case of ‘younger’ trees. It is also advisable to increase the intensity of pruning if the trees are not pruned every year. However, it must be said that in most cases, olive trees are pruned annually which is widely recommended when achieving a rigid frame and / or specific shape is required.

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