Could you please advise when to prune fruit-bearing olive trees growing in the south of England? Here there is a micro-climate, in that we have bananas fruiting and ginger flowering in the garden and the olives produce fruit.
Bananas in England? Pruning is an often-debated topic. Pruning in the fall may allow the fungal infections that go with winter rains to get into unsealed cuts. Pruning in the spring before bloom is more common. Some table olive growers will prune after bloom which forces more energy into fewer olives for larger more profitable olives. I have even seen home owners prune in the winter to assist with picking.
The trend in California among boutique growers was to treat their trees like bonsai, using clippers to do lots of pruning of small wood every year or every other year. Now our extension expert Paul Vossen is advising spring pruning every few years and going after big branches in the center of the tree with a chain saw.
Growers were also pruning too soon in the life of the tree. Vegetative growth is important early in the life of a tree to give it a good start. Newer recommendations are for no pruning in the first 4 years of the tree's life. Pruning is one of the most costly parts of any fruit tree operation.
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