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  1. #1
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    Default Pruning the Olive trees

    We ahve had a streak of good weather which has allowed my husband and myself to get a jup on pruning the olive trees. Last eyar we did about 700 of them and so this year we have another 700 of them. This farm had a farmhand but we cna't figure out what he actually did. the trees were left to grow way way to high. The farmhand cut off all the bottom branches, and let them grow to tall, thus all the growth is up high where you cna't reach them with the harvesting equipment. you only wnat to grow the trees as high as you can pick off the olives. i beleive he did it to make his tractoring easier. it is also much easier to cut off a limb/branch at the trunk of the tree rather than carefully cut it back and to try and save as many branches from the limb as possible. 1 saw cut, cut the whole limb verses 50 snips with the pruning shears. i don't know why the prevous owner let him get away with that.

    one thing I learned from my first round at pruning you really need to cut them short, these trees thrive here and literally grow 2 to 3 feet in a year. I'm using a Stihl combi system chainsaw, that is on a long pole. my husband is hand cutting with a small saw. I do ove the Stihl saw, I am able to start it without to much effort, and once it is warmed up it only takes one pull to start it back up again.

    I did two short rows where I did a full pruning. There are 2 types of pruning the grand pruning and the small pruning. The grand pruning you are jsut cutting the tree down to size and clenaing out the center of the tree. The small pruning you go to each branch and you cut anything that grows down, and crossing branches. Basically you look at the branches and try and predict how a branch will grow and you snip off surrounding branches to give it room to grow. The real payback is with the small pruining, if you do a real fine job at the small pruing you can increase your production 2 fold and that is a lot. After this year getting the trees cut back down to size, from then on we should be able to move through the 12 acre farm and jsut do the small pruning. Our plan is to do the large pruing and then if we have time to go back and get as much small pruning done as we can.



    In the first pic i am showing a pruned back tree next to an un pruned one, only the grand pruing has been done, the cut tree still needs the fine pruning done. This will give you an idea of the magnitude of the project.

    In the second pic I'm showing a row of perfectly pruned trees

    In the third pic I'm showing a close up of a pruned tree. Notice how bad it is is you cut off all the bottom branches and let the trees grow to tall. you ge no bottom growth! Thankfully olive trees are almost impossible to kill and they grow back quickly. Within 2 years the trees will be totally filled out and again need pruing back.

    In the Fourth pic is just a small very small part of the brush that we now have to take care of. we lop off the small branches and save branches and limbs for firewood. My husband will burn the branches in the space between the olvie trees. We could never do that before because the trees had grown out to wide and it wasn't safe. now that we cut them back we can burn right in the field, that will be very nice. We have our tractor ready with a spayer filled with water, as our stand by firetruck tanker.

    I the fifth pic is an example of what a fantastic crop you can get from a well prunned olvie tree. See how many leaves there are on the branch and how healthy and green it is. If you don't prune, the branches keep growing outwards but towards the center of the tree where the branch starts it is all wood and no leaves. that doens't produce olvies.
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    1 Goldini Tractor & 1 Articulated Staub Tractor
    1,362 Olive Trees, 125 Almond Trees. Proud producer of Premium Extra Virgin French Olive Oil - Mas Des Bories.

  2. #2
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pruning the Olive trees

    That's interesting, Rox. I've done an awful lot of tree pruning, but never really had any idea of what I was doing right or wrong. I just cut off anything that's in my way.
    Bird

  3. #3
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Tyler, Texas
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    Default Re: Pruning the Olive trees

    Great pictures Rox!!!

    Nice to see what you've been up to, but it wears me out just thinking about pruning 700 trees. YIKES!!!!

    At least you'll have plenty of firewood for those chilly nights out watching the stars with a glass of wine.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Eddie

  4. #4
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pruning the Olive trees

    You have done some major pruning. That is a lot of work.

    Just looking at those pictures makes me think of Cheese and fresh baked bread slathered in Olive Oil or perhaps some Hummus.

    Next is to make boxes from the larger pieces of Olive Wood and package gift bottles in them. " More Work "

    [ Most of the bottled olives I buy have a red center, is this a different type of Olive? ]
    Egon
    50 years behind the times
    Livin in a
    Worn out skin bag filled with rattlin bones

  5. #5
    Super Member RobS's Avatar
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    SW Michigan
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    John Deere 790

    Default Re: Pruning the Olive trees

    Quote Originally Posted by Egon
    [ Most of the bottled olives I buy have a red center, is this a different type of Olive? ]
    For a real treat Egon, pull out that red center and replace it with some nice bleu cheese. Then surround it with chilled gin and a breath of vermouth. Yum!

    Great pics Rox. There are a lot of fruit tree farms and vinyards around here and I see the crews pruning from time to time. Looks like a lot of work. You mentioned harvest equipment. Is your crop machine picked or hand picked? Fascinating stuff, thanks for posting.
    Rob
    ****************
    John Deere 790, 70 FEL, 7 BH, 513 cutter and other fun stuff

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
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    Warrenton MO
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    Default Re: Pruning the Olive trees

    Quote Originally Posted by Egon
    [ Most of the bottled olives I buy have a red center, is this a different type of Olive? ]
    The ones I buy have anchovies or garlic in the middle. Yum!

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Pruning the Olive trees

    Rob,

    For harvest we have a pitchfork like thing on a pole about 4ft long. The head vibrates back and forth and shakes the olvies off the small branches. So we might as well not have any trees taller than that vibrating pitchfork can reach.

    Today we took a break from pruing and spread fertilizer. My husband drives the tractor and i sit in back on the little wagon that is held up by the 3ph. he pours int he fertilizer and I use a dustpan and throw about a third of a dustpan full of fertilizer for each tree. I throw it jsut where the tips of the branches hang down. Not to close to the trunk and not to far away. After being on the farm since May of 2004 I have developed ambidexterious skills. I can throw that dust pan full of fertilizer with my right or left arm. When he drives down the center row i throw both right and left. It only took us 4 hours by doing it together. For some reason i didn't help him last August and he has to advance the tractor a bit, get off, throw the fertilizer, get back on etc. a PIA. By himself it takes about a day and a half with us working together it only took an afternoon.

    We had our first farm accident today though. Taht little wagon on the back of the 3PH well it is a dumping wagon. We didn't even know it dumped for well more than a year and only found out by accident. My hsuband hung an empty plastic bucket with a metal dustpan inside on the lever the releases the dumping action. When we hit the hardpacked gravel driveway he moved the speed up, as he should have we were going to a different field and he wasn't like racing or anything, well the combination of that increased speed and the bucket hanging on the release hadle, well you know what happened. rox took a dump off the wagon. It happened so fast I didn't even have a micro second to react. one minute I was sitting up in the wagon and the next minute i was thrown to the ground, hit my head on the gravel driveway and these are big chunks of gravel with sharp edges. Good thing though i was wearking a winter ski cap and had on my safety gogles. You need to wear the safety gogels because when you throw the fertilizer pellets the wind throws it back and it gets in your eyes. My head is just a little sore in one spot didn't even get a bump, and thank God for that. My eyes were stinging and I went int he bathroom in the barm and wiped them a bit with cold water and then went back and finished the job. After we were all done i went to the pharmacy and bought some eye drops to have around, we always get eye injuries, branches slapping you in the eye. We needed it anyway. Our first farm accident and it wasn't that bad at all. I think it scared my husband more than me. My husband didn't drive fast on the drivway for the rest of the day... Tomorrow back to pruning.

    We are doing pretty well selling our olvie oil, we picked up 4 new private country clubs in USA, might be 5 I'm tired and can't remember.
    1 Goldini Tractor & 1 Articulated Staub Tractor
    1,362 Olive Trees, 125 Almond Trees. Proud producer of Premium Extra Virgin French Olive Oil - Mas Des Bories.

  8. #8
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pruning the Olive trees

    Sounds like your accident was one of those that wasn't very serious this time, but just as easily could have been very serious. We all know farming is dangerous, so we all try to be careful, and yet accidents do seem to happen to all of us at times.
    Bird

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pruning the Olive trees

    Sounds like you prune them about like I prune my apple and other fruit trees,do you prune them as open center,like most apple trees or peach trees,or a center leader like most pear trees?
    Thats what I've been doing for last couple days now,[mostly thinking about it though and drinking beer],I only got 3-4 dozen altogether,,would hate to think about any more,,,thingy

  10. #10
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pruning the Olive trees

    Glad to hear you are okay Rox.

    I may have been classed in with the safety police so questions.
    Do you wear a respirator when fertilizing?
    Have you considered wearing a hard had with a face shield while pruning?
    How about ear protection when pruning?
    Have you considered a three point hitch mounted fertilizer spreader?

    Ugly picture attached.
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    Egon
    50 years behind the times
    Livin in a
    Worn out skin bag filled with rattlin bones

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