The Q&A Archives: Pruning A Fruiting Olive Tree

Question: How do you prune and what do you fertilize a fruiting olive tree for best production?

Answer: Olive trees should be trained when young to produce width along with height. If allowed to grow untrained they will become tall, with little branching pattern. To encourage an attractive canopy, prune back side branches to the point where you want multiple branches to begin. Once your tree has the desired shape, thin branches out to reveal the main branching structure and cut remaining branches back by about one-third. Fruit ripens and drops late in the year so for best fruit production prune after fruit drops. If you want to eliminate some fruit, prune just before the flower buds open. Olive trees adapt to most soils and exposures and generally do not need regular feeding. Fertilize only if growth is poor, with a general purpose 5-10-10.

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