The olive tree is a Mediterranean tree greatly appreciated for its undeniable ornamental power. To maintain a beautiful appearance to adult subjects, but also to prevent parasitic attacks and make light penetrate into its heart, maintenance pruning is necessary.
The size of fruiting allowing to obtain a tree well loaded with olives will be practiced in a regular way but more spaced in time.
Young plants will need some specific care to form a beautiful frame, while older, sick, or frost-affected plants will sometimes require drastic pruning. It is, therefore, all a matter of observation.
When to prune the olive tree?
Maintenance pruning is practiced at the very beginning of spring outside the frost period and before the appearance of the first flowers, which should point to the tip of their petals in May or June.
How to prune the olive tree?
As we have seen, there are various types of pruning method; they should be performed according to these very specific cases:
The training size
It is practiced on very young trees and consists of removing all the lateral branches to form a trunk. Around the fourth year or when the trunk is a little more than a meter, the shape of the frame will be put in place by keeping only 4 or 5 side branches of the head and by cutting the central branch in order to give the famous shape ” engobelet ”widely used in the south. This flared shape promotes good ventilation and better future fruiting.
The fruiting size
This type of pruning is practiced every 3 or 4 years and consists of maintaining the shape of a goblet, always pruning the branches emitted on the trunk. The olive tree only blooms on two-year-old wood, so you have to be precise and have a light hand so as not to compromise the harvest. Remove a few branches that have fruited while retaining new shoots for future harvest. At the same time, try to keep your tree compact because the further the branches move away from the trunk, the poorer the harvest.
The maintenance size
They are practiced every year on subjects with an ornamental vocation. It consists of removing side branches on the trunk, shoots at its base, and ventilating the center of the tree to prevent parasites from finding a cozy refuge. Its purpose being aesthetic, you will give a harmonious shape to the tree while respecting its nature. Always avoid ball pruning, unsuitable for this tree; it would promote the appearance of mealybugs!
This type of pruning should only be performed as a last resort on a patient who is sick or has frozen. It consists of cutting the trunk 40 cm from the ground to leave only the side branches. Seek professional advice before you start.