The Q&A Archives: Preventing Fruit Set on Olive Trees

Question: What can I do to keep an olive tree from forming fruit, which ends up all over my front yard?

Answer: One way to minimize fruiting is to prune the tree heavily. By selectively thinning out the fruiting branches each year, you can minimize the crop of olives that the tree produces. Carefully inspect your tree and you will be able to determine which branches will flower and bear fruit. They are the smallest, newest branches on the tree. Remove these small branches by cutting them back to the limbs that form the structure of the tree. You'll end up with a picturesque specimen tree without the messy fruit drop. You might also contact a professional arborist to ask about fruit-inhibiting sprays. There are some available for commercial use, but these may or may not be available for home use in your area. All in all, you might be better off replacing the tree with a "cleaner" one.

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