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Olive Trees: How to Cost Effectively Reduce Olives and Pollen

11 years ago

I live in San Rafael, California and have two lovely full grown olive trees in our backyard that are next to our swimming pool. Unfortunately, the trees drop a tremendous amount of olives, fallen leaves, and flowers in our pool that become a pool maintenance nightmare. Additionally, my wife is extremely allergic to the pollen.

We very much want to keep the trees, and just want to find a cost effective way to reduce the load that ends up in our pool and yard, as well as having less pollen. I have investigated spraying to reduce olives, but found it too costly. Instead I was planning on having them heavily pruned once every three or four years to keep the canopy relatively small and compact. In fact, this has worked in the past when I had them heavily trimmed 7 years ago to about 1/10 the current canopy volume (practically pollarded), resulting in negligible olives, flowers, pollen, and leaf drop for about 3 years. However, my wife heard from someone that trimming olive trees will only encourage more olives and pollen. But from my direct observation, it does the exact opposite. Not only does a tiny canopy result in less debris, but for the first few years, the tree is spending most of its energy growing back new branches and leaves, and less on producing flowers and fruit.

Who is right? Which is the best cost effective approach? Thanks!


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