10 May 2018

Olive Tree (I). Thinning pruning

In the following two posts we will deal with pruning tasks in olive trees related to: thinning pruning and formation pruning. On this occasion, we will talk about the thinning pruning (also called production pruning) that we have carried out on the olive trees that are in full production. These tasks are recommended when the vegetative activity of the tree is insignificant, which occurs between January and April. The aim of pruning is to help prevent premature aging of the tree, we help to renew the branches by removing old branches and creating a balanced growth. We perform pruning tasks of the olive trees every two years and we make that it coincide with the year they have most harvest (remember that they are trees that normally have good production every two years). In this way we help to make the year that generates less yield less aggressive for the tree.

Thinning pruning consists of selecting the branches to be removed so that air and light can enter through all parts of the olive tree. The olive tree, for its development and good production, needs a lot of sunlight, so when it has too many branches generates shade between them and this can be detrimental to its performance. Be careful if you remove too many branches as the light could damage the trunk by sunstroke. With this kind of pruning, we also take advantage of this to form the top of the tree and thus have the same shape, avoiding that the branches remain at great height and we may have problems in the harvest (we should highlight that we make a manual harvest).

Once pruning has been completed, all the waste generated must be collected. Years ago, the waste used to be eliminated with fire but in recent years the option of chopping the waste is dominating with the aim of reincorporating it back into the soil as organic matter.

After pruning, this is the ideal moment to cure the scars that have been generate with the cuts by means of phytosanitary treatments. Wounds are the main entry of bacteria into the tree... but we will talk about this in future articles.

Versión en español.