Olive trees may be extremely resilient plants, but to get the best out of them you’ll need to give them a little care and attention from time to time. If you’ve not had your tree long or are looking to purchase one, at some point you might have to get to grips with pruning its branches. But what exactly is pruning, and how does it differ from trimming?
The difference between pruning and trimming
Trimming principally applies to smaller plants like shrubs or hedges, and it’s usually done for aesthetics. For example, hedges will often grow in unwanted directions, leading to an untidy and haphazard appearance. Gardeners wanting a neater look will trim these overgrown branches away, potentially also benefiting the plant’s health in the process.
Pruning, meanwhile, applies more to trees – and it’s done mostly for health and growth purposes. Pruning your olive tree will not only neaten up its appearance, but allow it to grow more rapidly and bear better quality fruit – a win-win. Removing dead, diseased or infected branches is an essential part of caring for any tree.
When should you prune your olive tree?
Fortunately, olive trees aren’t too demanding with regards to pruning. The best time to do it is either late spring or early summer, but this only applies to more mature trees. For the first couple of years of an olive tree’s life, no pruning is necessary – they grow quite slowly.
We’d advise against pruning your olive tree until you’re sure that the year’s last frost has passed. If you do, you’ll leave open ‘wounds’ on your tree, leaving it more vulnerable to damage from sub-zero temperatures.
When pruning an olive tree, you should focus on allowing as much light as possible into the centre of the plant to promote growth. You can remove branches that are blocking the sunlight from entering, as well as cutting away dead branches or ones that are rubbing against each other, as these will inhibit growth.
If you want your tree to bear fruit this year, don’t prune it: olives grow on the previous year’s growth.
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From small olive trees to ancient and gnarled varieties, we have the UK’s largest selection of olive trees in stock at Olive Grove Oundle. Explore our range today and buy yours online.