Life cycle of the olive tree and pruning

Why is it so important to prune the branches of olive trees? The answer to this question lies in the life cycle of this plant species, which, as we well know, can live for up to hundreds of years.

Olive trees have an extremely long life cycle. In their natural environment, these plants originate from seeds, and during the first stages of their development, all the sources of energy stored in it are directed towards root growth and, in a later stage, to that of the shoot. The aim is to occupy the greatest expanse of space in the shortest time possible. Both the roots and branches grow and extend throughout the years, and in the space of a few seasons the tree will start bearing its first fruits. It is then that it becomes necessary to prune the tree’s branches in order to control its vegetative growth. A heavy crop, disproportionate to the size of the canopy, will deplete the nutrients needed to form new fruit buds, hence reducing olive production for the following year. However, also an over-abundant canopy can have the same effect. Obviously, the only solution is to cut it down, and many are the pruning techniques devised for this purpose.

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