Garden

Olive tree pruning

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Question: Can I drastically prune an olive tree?

I need advice, in the condominium garden I have an olive tree of about 15 years, now it has reached an elevated height from the managerial point of view.I wanted to know if cutting the biggest branches to be able to lower it I am going to weaken the plant and consequently create some health damage. If this intervention were possible, could the month of April be good for cutting? Thank you so much, Roberto.


Olive tree pruning: Answer: olive tree pruning

Dear Roberto,

olive trees are trees that can reach old, vigorous and resistant ages, which are hardly affected by pruning, even if drastic; surely you too will have seen in the nurseries and in the gardens specimens of millennial olive trees, which have been uprooted from their place of origin, capriciously moved and even hundreds of kilometers away, without the plant being affected in any way by this barbaric treatment. Bear in mind that the planting carried out in these cases removes more than 60% of the crown of the tree, which patiently, and without major problems, reconstitutes its branches within a few years, without showing very visible signs of suffering.

Even in the olive groves very drastic prunings are practiced, which remove up to about 40% of the entire crown, to "rejuvenate" the trees, and stimulate them to produce many new shoots, which will replace the old branches removed; this practice is useful to encourage the production of olives, but also to limit the final size of the tree, since it is not easy to collect olives grown very high.

Therefore, if you want to prune your olive tree, you can do it safely, given that it is now fifteen years that it is at home, and therefore pruning should not cause excessive damage; in any case, try not to remove excessive quantities of wood and branches, keep around 40% of the total foliage, to avoid creating excessive stress on the tree.

The pruning of the olive tree is practiced at the end of winter, before the plant has restarted its vegetative cycle, and therefore before new shoots or new leaves are seen; you can also prune in the autumn, also because I believe that your plant is for ornamental purposes only, not for olive production.

Remember to always use very sharp tools, in order to make clean and precise cuts, without burrs. Before pruning, clean the tools perfectly, and disinfect them.

The olive tree is often subject to fungal or bacterial diseases, which affect the wood of the branches; to avoid that these diseases, in a still not clearly visible stage, come with the pruning transported from one branch to another, when you finish pruning a branch, disinfect the cutting tools again before moving on to the next branch.

To avoid subsequently leaving a series of doors wide open for the passage of fungi and bacteria, as soon as you have made a cut, especially if it is the removal of branches of a certain important diameter, cover the cutting surface with mastic to pruning, of the type that also contains a fungicide, in order to protect the wood from attacks by pests.

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