How to Prune an Olive Tree

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

If you want to learn how to prune an olive tree, you’ve come to the right place. This article will teach you everything you need to know.

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Why You Should Prune an Olive Tree

Pruning is vital to the health and vigor of olive trees and should be done every year. By pruning, you encourage new growth, which means more fruit and leaves. You also improve air circulation, which helps the tree to fight off diseases. In addition, pruning gives you a chance to shape the tree the way you want it to look.

When to Prune an Olive Tree

Olive trees are long-lived, so they don’t need to be pruned every year. They can, however, be pruned annually to keep them a manageable size or to shape them into an attractive form. The best time to prune olive trees is in late winter or early spring, before they produce new growth.

How to Prune an Olive Tree

Pruning an olive tree is important to maintain its health and to encourage new growth. But how do you know when and how to prune an olive tree? This article will give you some tips on how to prune an olive tree.

Trimming the canopy

Olive trees are usually pruned in the late winter or early spring, before the new growth appears. The amount of pruning depends on the age and vigor of the tree, as well as the type of pruning being done.

Canopy pruning is done to improve sunlight exposure and air circulation within the tree. It also helps to keep the tree a manageable size. To prune the canopy, start by removing any dead or diseased branches. Then, thin out the branch growth by cutting back to a healthy shoots. Be sure to make your cuts at a 45 degree angle, just above a node (where the leaves attach to the branches).

After you’ve trimmed back the canopy, you can shape it by selective pruning. This is done by removing branch tips to create a desired shape. Remember to always make your cuts at a 45 degree angle, just above a node.

Fruiting wood removal

The first type of pruning that should be carried out on an olive tree is removal of any dead, diseased or damaged wood. This should be done as soon as the problem is noticed, to prevent the spread of disease, and any diseased wood should be destroyed (not composted).

The second type of pruning is called formative pruning and is carried out to train the tree into the desired shape. This should be done when the tree is young, generally up to 3 years old. After this age, trees can still be shaped with pruning, but it becomes much more difficult.

The final type of pruning is called fruiting wood removal. This is done to encourage the tree to produce more fruit, and involves removing any wood that has not borne fruit in the previous year.


Olive trees are very strong and resilient, but they need to be properly pruned in order to produce the best olives. Suckering is a common problem with olive trees, and it can be corrected with proper pruning.

Suckers are new shoots that grow from the base of the tree or from the roots. They are usually unwanted because they take away energy from the main trunk and branches, and they can also produce olives that are smaller and lower in quality.

To remove suckers, cut them off at the base with pruning shears or a sharp knife. Make sure to make the cuts clean and uniform so that the tree can heal quickly. Be careful not to damage the main trunk or branches when removing suckers.

If you have a severe problem with suckering, you may need to use a chemical growth regulator such as ethephon. This product is applied to the trunk and branches of the tree, and it prevents new shoots from growing. Follow all label directions carefully when using this product.

Dead wood removal

The first pruning cut is to remove any dead wood. This can be done at any time of the year but is best done in winter when the tree is dormant. Any wood that is brown or black in color and feels soft to the touch is considered dead and should be removed. Cut these branches back to the point where they connect with a living branch or trunk.

Olive Tree Pruning Tips

Pruning olive trees is essential for maintaining the health and vigor of the tree, as well as for preventing the spread of disease. Olive trees are best pruned in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins.

There are a few things to keep in mind when pruning olive trees:
-Olive trees should be pruned so that they have an open center, which allows sunlight and air to circulate through the tree. This also helps to prevent the spread of disease.
-Remove any dead, diseased, or damaged branches.
-Thin out crowded branches to increase air circulation.
-Remove suckers that are growing from the base of the tree.
-Prune back overgrown branches to encourage new growth.

Olive Tree Pruning Tools

Before you prune your olive tree, you will need to gather the proper tools. You will need a pair of bypass pruners, a pair of loppers, and a small hand saw. The bypass pruners are for small branches and the loppers are for larger branches. The hand saw is for branches that are too large for the loppers. You will also need a sharpening stone to keep your tools sharp.

Olive trees need to be pruned every year to keep them healthy and productive. The best time to prune them is in the late winter or early spring before they start to produce new growth.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books

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