The Q&A Archives: Preventing Olives From Forming

Question: I have a beautiful, healthy, 30+ year old olive tree in my yard, I hate the mess it makes each year when it drops the ripe fruit. Is there a safe way to keep it from bearing fruit?

Answer: Olive trees can withstand heavy pruning. 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.

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