Is it desirable to delay the month of March the pruning of olive trees affected by the cold?

edited by Dr. Giuseppe Marrone

The low temperature, if on one hand it can be cause of reduction or damage to the vegetative development of the olive, on the other, allows the olive tree a greater differentiation of the flower buds, so the years following cold winters (e.g. winter 2012) are normally vintages (e.g. 2013) with more fruit sets, this should be duly taken into account especially at the time of pruning.

In the current year there was some frost damage that affected the olive trees located in the inner areas and those placed in depressed areas. The damages can go from the defoliation to the devitalization of the branches (detachment of the epidermis from the bark for formation of ice crystals), of the branches and of the trunk (cracks and cracks on the bark, ammarronamento of the zone of the change).

Considering the harsh winter and the presence, in some areas, of frost damage, the pruning may be carried out with delay (March) and may be greater, however, never more than 20/30% of the crown to avoid excessive fruit set, especially if the olive groves are not irrigated and if the year before they had a low production and to limit the production alternation.

The recovery operations must be carried out in March, at the beginning of the vegetative activity, because there is a need to identify the parts of the damaged shoots (extent of the damage) and where and with what intensity the tree is able to vegetate.