Olive Trees are just amazing
Wandering through the Olive trees at our home Tenuta Le Mandorlaie is magical for me, these trees that deliver amazing olives every year, in reality require little care of treatment, left alone they would still grow, live, produce olives and have a long life span. Since the olive tree became important as a commodity, its health benefits have been known worldwide for centuries and with the boom of shipping it soon became a worldwide product with the highest quality extra virgin olive oil commanding the highest prices.
Olive Tree care
There are many schools of thought when it comes to pruning olive trees, the height, the shape, the lowest branches off the ground and more. What we try to follow at Tenuta Le Mandorlaie is a natural shape and style, we are not looking for the best looking sculptured tree, in the end the tree will grow in its own direction, we try to keep the heights of the trees to 4metres, this means we can harvest by hand using electric and air powered tools, for us to go higher would mean a move to more mechanic methods.
For the shape of our trees, we like them to be functional, we are not aiming for perfect wine glass forms and shapes so we try to follow the simple rule when pruning an olive tree
‘give the tree light and air’
So what does this mean in the real world?
We achieve light by pruning some of the branches that are close together and growing in the same direction, this allows the remaining branch to develop. It also allows light inside the tree, allowing olives to grow and ripen there also. We also look at the head of the tree and see what new branches need to be removed to keep the tree at around 4metres high. In the end you should finish with a circular entry for the sunlight to enter from above and from the sides where branches have been thinned.
For air, this is needed in order to help keep the tree pest free, with free flowing air the tree does not have any dark moist areas that pests like to lay eggs, or live in. If a tree is pruned correctly, with the center new shooting branches removed then air can easily pass through ensuring the health of the tree. We also remove all the lower shoots near the base of the tree, as in 2 years these can take much energy from the tree and also start to block light and air from getting to the branches that will hold our seasons olives.