Train and Shape Olive trees, Maintain or Increase Production and Improve Harvest Efficiency
by Marcelo Berlanda of The Olive Centre Agronomy Services
Training helps giving the tree the optimal shape to allow for efficient harvest as well as achieving early crops.
Once the trees have reached their optimum canopy volume for the environmental conditions of the area, it is likely that the yields could start declining. This is due to the fact that the inner part of the canopy does not receive sufficient sunlight, which causes defoliation, resulting in a low Leaf to Wood Ratio.
If the tree grows above its optimum size, it creates serious issues for the harvester machines. The tree becomes too high and too wide for the machines, it has thick branches that can cause damage on the picking heads and also reduces the removal efficiency of the machine as well as slows down the harvesting speed.
It is a fact that to produce fruit, Olive trees need to grow and produce new branches each year; therefore the trees need to grow every year. It is here where pruning becomes a very useful management tool.
Pruning helps increasing Fruit Size, Oil Yield, Light Interception and Leaf to Wood Ratio, it promotes new growth, and reduces water and fertiliser requirements.