It’s Time to Prune The Olives

Pruning Olive Trees


It is time again to prune the olives – but didn’t I just do that. A whole year has passed so quickly.

Italian Proverb

“Prune each tree so a swallow can fly through the tree without touching its wings.”

Get those shears sharpened. Clean the blades, Grab a good hat, a flexible pair of gloves, and solid and supportive work shoes.

Don’t forget the huge flask of water.

Go to work –and hard work it is but really good work.

2016 was a good fruit set year and we pruned

2017 was bad – devastating fruit set year and we pruned

2018 was a great fruit set year and we pruned

2019 was a good set year and we are pruning right now.

Get my drift?  We prune every year.

Some thoughts on pruning.

  • Never prune more than 1/3 of the tree. Each year is different so prune to the blossom set of the previous year. Heavy set prune heavy, light set prune light.  We understand that olives are on a cyclical production cycle so pruning should follow that pattern.
  • Cut out the dead wood in the center of the tree, to open up the canopy to provide light and air to the center of the tree. To encourage the tree to grow, add compost, fertilizer and water. Watch the trees respond with healthy growth. Prune Olive trees each year to direct growth.
  • Prune to a vase or goblet shape. Use central cuts smf lateral cuts, remove suckers, clean the trunks, and lift the skirts. No branches should touch the ground. Top heading for full canopy growth.
  • Use sharp instruments to make clean cuts. Clean your shears daily to prevent transmission of bacteria.  Make your cuts on an angel so if it does happen to rain, no water will accumulate on the cut surfaces.
  • Put up bird boxes so the birds can enjoy your grove and help with the bugs.
  • Pruning is an art. Practice makes perfect. Olive trees are tough and they respond well to care.

Get out there and prune – don’t put it off if you want a better and easier harvest in the Fall.

One tree at a time. Talk to your trees, sing to your trees. Help them grow and thrive. You will be a better grower if you smile in your olive grove.

Get going and remember there is another pruning year next year. Do your best this year and next year will be easier and better.