How to Prune for Mechanical Olive Shaker Harvesting?

Information has been provided by Barilla Contract Orchard Harvesting to provide insightful tips to achieving a successful and efficient olive harvest through pruning techniques to ensure an efficient olive harvest.

Why prune olive trees?

There are many reasons why you would want to incorporate a plan for pruning, here are a few reasons why;

  1. To provide sustainable crops
  2. To provide higher yields
  3. To provide high quality
  4. To decrease production costs

PRUNING TIPS:-

  • Achieving results from pruning are best seen in thinning where the canopy becomes more efficient.
  • Pruning branches are best recommended to done at a 90-degree angle to minimise the exposure of peeling off bark or inviting dry out or infection into the tree.
  • When training the juvenile stage, always clean two-thirds from the base.  Stake it at proper side of the tree to avoid weather growth and remove stake once the tree is well rooted with strength.
  • In training the tree towards a teenage growth using the Vase System, leave 3 or 4 branches spaced apart to allow the light in. Vase system is recommended for mechanical trunk shaking machines.
  • Always eliminate suckers and shoots in order to avoid heavier maintenance for following year/s.
  • When pruning unwanted branches to suit method of the harvester, do not remove primary branches that require the tree frame which also will provide the fruit.
  • The height of trees is based on tree spacing for vase framed mechanical harvesters, normal recommendation is 4 to 5 metres & width of row minimum 6 to 7 metres.
  • The height of the trunk using the vase system should be no less than 1 metre to 1.5 metres for mechanical harvesters that will grab the trunk with an umbrella catcher.
  • Image Source: Olive Press Magazine

    Most importantly for vase framed trees that V up can also V down on a heavy crop if branches are not strong to carry the weight, this will cover visibility of trunk for harvesting contractor. Therefore it is important that higher trunk pruning is not only for the tree to produce but also it is pruned to allow a mechanical harvester to operate efficiently to save time loss.

  • OTHER TOOLS REQUIRED:  You may also need Secateurs for manual pruning intervention (Hand, Electric or Pneumatic), a hand saw, Small Chainsaw, Safety Glasses, Gloves and a Hat!

Pruning strategy goals:

  • Better light interception
  • Higher Leaf to wood ratio
  • Easier management of the grove
  • Cheaper and more efficient harvesting operation
Image Source: Olive Press Magazine

Naming terms:

  • Vigour:  Vegetative Growth Rate
  • Capacity:  Total Growth Coverage
  • Thinning:  Pruning thin unwanted branches before they become larger and harder to prune.
  • Heading:  Pruning large unwanted branches to suit frame style of tree.

More information:  Barilla Olive Oil & Harvesting, Munno Para Downs, South Australia 5114.  Mobile:  0411 402 405, Email:  steve at barillaoliveoil.com.au  Website:   www.barillaoliveoil.com.au  HACCP Accredited.

More information about:   Pruning Tools & Harvesting Tools

THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IS FROM OUR EXPERIENCES OF HARVESTING TREES, 
METHODS AND KNOWLEGE THAT HAS BEEN HANDED DOWN FROM THE BARILLA FAMILY. 
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE VARIABLES TO ANY OLIVE GROVE AND THESE NOTES MAY BECOME 
DIFFERENT TO LAYOUT OF GROVE, VARIETY OF OLIVES OR DIFFERENT TYPES OF HARVESTING 
METHODS. WE THEREFORE DO NOT ACCEPT ANY RESPONSIBLITY FOR THESE REASONS. THESE 
NOTES SHOULD BE VIEWED AS A GUIDE TOWARDS THE ADDITIONAL KNOWLEGE TO CONSIDER 
FOR YOUR OLIVE GROVE.

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