Pruning your Olive Tree

Tips on pruning your Olive Tree

Pruning your olive

Like most evergreen trees Olives respond very well to pruning, in fact the more you prune, the happier they grow. It is best, however, to prune your Olive after the last of the winter frost ( March onwards) and before the first autumn frosts ( late October early November)

If you prune back your Olive tree ‘hard’ it will result in a dense growth or a light ‘formative’ prune will give your tree a natural shape.

As with many fruit trees, olives fruit on new wood, so if you’re going to try for fruit a regular prune will increase your yield.

The most important fact to bear in mind when pruning your Olive tree is that the tree usually bears fruit on the previous year’s new growth, and never bears it in the same place twice.
Your tree will usually flower from late Spring. The flowers are self fertile and olives will readily set during the Summer months.
The olive tree produces fruit mainly at the periphery and top of the canopy. This is because these parts of the tree are fully exposed to sunlight and in turn improves fertility. Pruning for fruiting purposes focus on the removal of any part that shades other younger parts of the tree.

Note If your tree is looking a little unhappy in its pot, reduce the canopy by a 1/3.

Let there be light

Light and more light is the overwhelming principle of pruning. Letting the light into the tree improves fruit production. Letting in the light also keeps the tree under control. If the tree is dark and dense branches will race up and out to find more light.

Due to our colder climate, if you wish to eat your olives you will need to pick them in October before the first frosts and ‘cure’ them.

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The Mediterranean Garden Society website has more information about how to prune Olive trees.
Here is our recipe for curing and preserving your Olives.

More Information

History of Olive Trees
Where to grow your Olive Tree
How hardy is an Olive Tree?
Feeding Your Olive Tree
Pests and Diseases

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