Olive tree pruning is a fundamental agricultural practice that consists of removing branches and leaves from olive trees with the aim of improving their health, productivity and structure. This technique has been preserved for centuries, and is a fundamental role in the good care of the olive tree and in the subsequent production of olive oil.
The objectives of pruning the olive tree are:
1. Control the growth of the olive tree: Pruning helps control the size and shape of the olive tree, preventing the branches from expanding uncontrollably and promoting balanced growth.
2. Improve oil production: By eliminating dead, diseased or unproductive branches, pruning stimulates the development of new healthy branches and the production of olives.
3. Prevent diseases: Correct pruning helps the olive tree capture more light inside and ventilate better, thus reducing humidity and preventing the spread of diseases.
4. Rejuvenate olive trees: In ancient and centenary olive trees, pruning can rejuvenate the tree, since old wood is removed and stimulates the growth of new branches.
Generally, olive trees are pruned after harvesting their fruits, which is when the "vegetative stop" occurs (period in which the olive tree stops growing and developing). However, the pruning date changes depending on the use that will be made of the olive fruits:
- If the fruits are collected to make table olives, the olive tree is usually pruned between November and December.
- If the fruits are collected to make olive oil, the pruning of the olive tree is usually carried out between February, March and April.
In young olive trees, pruning plays a fundamental role in forming the future structure of the tree. By pruning the olive tree, we seek to establish a shape that favors access to sunlight, ventilation and the balanced development of branches.
Pruning young olive trees aims to stimulate good growth and the creation of strong branches. For this reason, "training" and "cleaning" pruning is carried out to eliminate weak shoots that could harm the strong shoots in olive production.
When the olive tree has grown to be an adult, "production" pruning is carried out, which aims to prolong the life of the olive tree as much as possible. In this pruning, branches older than 3-4 years are removed from the olive tree to encourage new young branches to grow and have more sap.
The ancient olive trees are living witnesses of history, having seen hundreds of generations pass by, and are therefore a unique symbol of Mediterranean tradition and culture. The pruning of ancient olive trees is carried out with the utmost care and respect for their longevity and the essence of their historical character.
In ancient olive trees, pruning focuses on preserving structural balance and ensuring the continued vitality of the tree. To do this, dead or unproductive branches are removed more frequently, since they multiply as the olive tree ages. This process is known as "regeneration" pruning.
It is also important to open holes so that sunlight can enter the olive tree, and its crown is molded to maintain its integrity.
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