The olive tree is not only used to produce oil, but it can also be used ornamentally. For this purpose, some aspects must be taken into account, such as pruning. Many people don’t know when to prune an ornamental olive tree nor how to do it. Normally, pruning is a biennial process, that is, it is done twice a year. In this way, the olive tree can be given the ability to produce new plant material. In this sense, we must day the growth of the olive tree focused on the decorative that does not necessarily have to be improving the efficiency of the olive harvest production.
In this article we are going to tell you when to prune an ornamental olive tree and how to do it.
When to prune an ornamental olive tree
Young ornamental olive trees often have only one leg or trunk. The trunk of the olive tree should be in the shape of a cross 100-150 cm high, from which the main branches or arms emerge. Since nothing is more important than the beauty and lushness of plant material, it is advisable not to cut any of the main arms of the olive tree, nor clean the twigs near the cross. While this is true, spherical cups are highly decorative. However, the shape of the cup is subject to Master’s judgment. Pruning potted olive trees is undoubtedly an art.
Throughout their existence, olive trees will receive different care, including pruning. There is no single technique for pruning olive trees. Mainly, the characteristic that will mark the type of pruning of the olive tree will be the type of crop in which it is found.
We distinguish between ancestral crops of two, three or four legs, followed by rain-fed or intensive monopatas of the olive treeand finally ultra-intensive crops. Likewise, pruning will vary in each harvest, depending on the age of the olive tree. Therefore, we can distinguish three stages, the pruning of olive tree formation, maintenance pruning and pruning or renewal harvesting of old olive trees.
As it is less than 3 months old, the olive seedling needs to be pruned. To prune an olive tree in a bag, you must take into account which of the first branches is the strongest and healthiest. In this way, we cut the cuts that would delay the growth of the olive tree. When the olive seedlings reach 50 cm, we cut the branches, leaving of course the leaves of the trunk. From this size, the olive trees will be trained in pruning for the appropriate type of crop.
It must be taken into account that pruning olive trees, favoring the collection of fruits and favoring the yield of each olive tree will be the two fundamental objectives. Olive trees between 8×8 and 10×10 meters are planted in this plantation. The olive plant will have several trunks, which will mark the way of pruning.
The key is to occupy the largest possible surface, so it always goes outwards. The harvest of this crop is done manually, without the use of heavy machinery during the rise of the olives. Therefore, the height of the olive tree will be very limited.
Types of pruning
Training pruning for multi-legged olive trees
Look for the slight slope of the trunk towards the outside. Instead of looking for any kind of symmetry for each leg, trim each log more in the center than on the outside. In this pruning of olive trees, the formation of crosses or crossheads is not sought. Finally, it is not recommended to cut twigs above about 60 cm. Nor the leaves of the trunk.
Maintenance pruning of the olive tree with several trunks
It is said that an olive tree is formed when the height of the olive tree is between 2,5 and 3 meters. Previously, the multi-legged olive trees had undergone maintenance pruning. This includes so-called “suckers” that cut too far from the inside of the tree. In this way, the completely vertical growth of the olive tree is avoided. Also, these branches are called suckers because they consume much of the olive tree’s food. Branches emerging directly from the roots of the trunk are also trimmed. These branches are called “varetas” and are pruned like an olive tree.
Pruning of the old olive tree with several feet
The pruning of old olive trees consists of cutting the entire main branch to renew the wood, that is, replacing the old wood with new wood. Olive yields are reduced when the plant material is very woody. It is believed to be an old olive tree over 25 years old. The first step is to open a hole of life for the olive tree. Cut one of the branches to a height of 50 cm above the final cut to prevent it from breaking. Tears prevent new shoots from forming. The height of the final cut should be between 120 and 150 cm. The cut branches are called sheds.
After the first year, we will find a bud with many braces on the head of the bud. The following year, the olive tree will naturally choose the strongest braces. These shoots will be pruned after two years, leaving 3 to 5 of the strongest stems.
In the fourth year, with fully productive arms, the overlapping arms are cut off, giving a total of 2 to 3 branches. During the year another hole of life will open, thus continuing with the pruning update. Also, overly long suckers should be cut every two years, leaving shorter suckers as they can grow laterally, closing the resulting life gap and providing the cut olive branch. In this way, we avoid inaccessible olive harvesting points while maintaining olive yields.
Tricks to know when to prune an ornamental olive tree
The time of pruning olive trees depends on the date of harvesting the olives. The olive harvest season usually falls between the end of October and the end of March. This date can be extended or shortened depending on the year. To meet harvest, productivity and accessibility needs, olive pruning dates are divided into two.
The first is clean pruning, which takes place after the summer and before the date of harvesting the olive. During this pruning process, the center of the shoot and the feet of the olive tree remove the branches that have grown throughout the summer. Thus, we eliminate the part that competes with the olives for the food of the olive tree. Thus, it can be ensured that the olive tree is dedicated to producing the oil that is mostly produced at this time. Common tools used are long-handled pruning shears or an axe.
The second is thinning and rejuvenation pruning. This pruning is done from January to April after the harvest of the olives. Again, the purpose of this pruning is to rejuvenate plant material on older olive trees and as a training pruning for young olive trees. Therefore, this pruning is not done every year. Rejuvenation pruning is more common than training pruning. The formation pruning of olive trees is usually done every 2 years. Also prune shoots every 5 to 10 years. The best tool for this type of pruning is, without a doubt, a chainsaw.
I hope that with this information you can learn more about when to prune an ornamental olive tree and how to do it.