15 April 2024

Olive pruning. Things to bear in mind

In the middle of the olive pruning campaign, we pause our tasks to provide a summary of  our progress. Following the guidance of our advisor, Rafael Navarro, and drawing from our experience last year, we are currently engaged in pruning and shredding branches, with plans for a pre-flowering treatment to follow.

Regarding pruning, we encounter three different scenarios: young olive groves, medium-sized olive groves and old olive groves. Each one needs to be pruned in a different way, which is explained below. Regardless of the age of the olive tree, the following basic concepts should always be kept in mind:

  • Pruning consists of removing bad wood so that good branches can grow.
  • The aim is to harvest more olives from the same pruning year.
  • Pruning is not peeling branches. Density is removed, but you remove firewood, not small branches.
  • Remove unnecessary branches.
  • Male branches at high altitude are useless.
  • The olive tree must always be kept in the correct shape.
  • It is necessary to attack the vertical branches, branches that go too far outwards, but the twig is fundamental.

For our young olive grove, planted in 2017 but unfortunately affected by the storm Filomena in 2021, our work primarily focuses on:

  • Removing low branches to shape the olive trees.

Regarding the medium-sized olive grove, planted in 2018, the tasks include:

  • Removing low branches.
  • Pruning male branches (those growing vertically).
  • Thinning out inner branches to allow light penetration and prevent leaf loss due to lack of light.

Finally, for the old olive grove (about 30 years old), our work involves:

  • Thinning out some main branches, aiming to retain three main branches, though this may change over time.
  • Clearing inner branches to promote light penetration.
  • Pruning male branches to reduce height and facilitate a more accessible harvest, as olives are typically found on lower branches

In conclusion, proper pruning techniques tailored to the specific age and condition of olive trees are essential for ensuring optimal growth, health, and productivity. Are you currently undertaking any pruning activities in your olive grove? Share your experiences or questions in the comments below!

Versión en español.

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