When to PRUN AN OLIVE TREE and How to do it - Practical Guide

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The olive tree, with a scientific name Olea europaea, is a tree that has practically become a symbol of the Mediterranean environment thanks to its more than recognizable appearance and the so-called liquid gold that is extracted from its fruits, olives. This small evergreen tree can live for thousands of years, as demonstrated by Al-Badawi himself, which is the name given to the oldest olive tree in the world, more than 4,000 years old and located south of Jerusalem.

However, maintaining these beautiful trees may not be as straightforward as it sounds, and in this article we are going to focus on when and how to prune an olive tree garden to keep it as healthy and beautiful as possible.

When to prune an olive tree

There are two suitable seasons to prune an olive tree: either at the end of the harvest, when the tree is already entering vegetative rest, or at the beginning of spring, when the tree is waking up.

Both moments offer their pros and cons, although if we refer to the olive tree as an ornamental tree and not in a farm, it is quite indifferent which of the two to choose. In any case, you should always avoid pruning it before frost hits, just like any other tree.

Benefits of pruning for the olive tree

Several are distinguished ways of pruning in the olive tree. One of the main ones is training, the objective of which is give the olive tree the desired shape in its first years of life, and that has the benefits of producing a tree with the characteristics we need, without branches that harm each other.

Production pruning is practiced on already formed trees, and its objective is to healthy development of olive branches, so that they grow properly and giving the greater quantity of fruits possible.

Finally, there is also renewal pruning, which is only applied to olive trees that are beginning to age, and seeks to stimulate the production of young and stronger branches.

How to prune an olive tree step by step

These are the indications to follow according to the type of olive tree pruning you want to practice:

Olive tree formation pruning

The formation pruning of the olive tree is carried out during its first years of life, and what you should do is, in the first years, leave only the main branches to the tree and prune its secondary shoots, so that you are giving it the base structure on which the tree will later grow. The first year it is advisable to leave only one main branch, the one that is more robust and strong, and from there to guide it each season.

Olive production pruning

The pruning of production is not so important in an ornamental tree, and what we will seek is simply to eliminate the branches that damage each other, so that the olive leaves of the upper branches do not deprive the lower main branches of the sun. Prune here leaving room for the young branches, trying clear the densest areas. It is important too remove hickeys that may have appeared.

Obviously, if it is a large tree you will need a ladder and suitable tools. Remember to always sanitize gardening tools for pruning and keep them as sharp as possible.

How to prune a potted olive tree

If you have planted your olive tree in a pot, your priority when pruning it will be to keep it in a suitable size for its container. Prune it once a year in the same way that it should be done with outdoor olive trees, but try here to keep the growth of its branches controlled.

In addition, the weight balance between its different branches is especially important with a potted olive tree, since when it bears fruit it could become unbalanced and fall in extreme cases. Maintain a formation pruning that gives it the shape you want to decorate your home. The production pruning should be more oriented to maintain the health of the tree than to seek a large amount of olive production.

More tips on pruning the olive tree

To finish, we give you some tips for pruning olive trees:

  • The olive tree is a slow growing tree and, therefore, you should not practice training pruning before its third year of life.
  • Pruning it earlier could greatly slow down its development and also expose it to disease or parasite attacks. In this other article by Ecologist Verde we will talk about the pests of the olive tree and its natural treatment.
  • It is advisable to use healing products after pruning your olive tree, especially in his early years. Thus, you will ensure that pruning wounds do not involve complications.

If you want to read more articles similar to When to prune an olive tree and how to do it, we recommend that you enter our category of Cultivation and care of plants.

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