Garden

Olive tree pruning


Question: Can I prune an olive tree drastically?


I need advice, in the condominium garden I have an olive tree about 15 years old, now it has reached an elevated height from a management point of view. damage on a healthy level. If this intervention were possible, can the month of April be good for cutting? Thank you so much, Roberto.

Olive tree pruning: Answer: the olive tree pruning


Dear Roberto,
the olive trees are trees that can reach old, vigorous and resistant ages, which hardly suffer from pruning, even if drastic; surely you will have also seen specimens of thousand-year-old olive trees in the nurseries and gardens, which have been uprooted from their place of origin, pollarded and moved even by hundreds of kilometers, without the plant being affected in any way by this barbaric treatment. Consider that the topping carried out in these cases removes more than 60% of the tree's foliage, 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 foliage, to "rejuvenate" the trees, and stimulate them to produce many new shoots, which will replace the old branches removed; this practice is useful to favor the production of olives, but also to contain the final dimensions of the tree, since it is not easy to collect the olives grown very high.
If you want to prune your olive tree, you can do it easily, also considering 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, maintain around 40% of the total foliage, to avoid creating excessive stress on the tree.
The olive tree pruning is practiced at the end of winter, before the plant has restarted its vegetative cycle, and therefore before new sprouts or new leaves are seen; you can also prune it in the fall, also because I think your plant is purely for ornamental purposes, not for olive production.
Remember to always use very well sharpened tools, in order to make clean and precise cuts without smudging. Before pruning, thoroughly clean the instruments, and disinfect them.
The olive is often subject to fungal or bacterial diseases, which affect the wood of the branches; to prevent these diseases from being pruned from one branch to another in a stage that is not yet clearly visible, when you finish pruning a branch, disinfect the cutting tools again before moving on to the next branch.
To avoid later 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 involves the removal of branches of a certain important diameter, cover the cutting surface with mastic for pruning, of the type that also contains a fungicide, so as to protect the wood from attacks by parasites.