This is a question that we are frequently asked, especially by people who have olive trees growing in their garden.
The trees are usually well looked after, even though, more often than not, they only produce a limited crop of olives, which usually end up in brine.
Olive trees are quite hardy and although they easily adapt to most climates, they cannot withstand the cold. It is therefore important to prune them at the right time of the year, so as to render them less susceptible to frost.
Pruning can in fact stimulate new growth, and put the plant in an extremely vulnerable position. In the past there have been some exceptional episodes of bitterly cold weather such as in 1929 (and described in the diaries of our grandfather Mario), 1956 and 1985. These however always occurred during the first couple of months of the year, and this is why at our latitudes, olive trees should never be pruned before late March. Traditionally, the branches that are cut are then blessed in the Church on Palm Sunday.