How Do You Prune a Sweet Olive Tree?

prune-sweet-olive-tree Credit: dinesh_valke/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

A sweet olive tree is a shrub-like tree that needs very little pruning, usually only in the late fall and early spring after each blooming season. When pruning, start by removing old growth and then trim to maintain desired size and shape. It usually only takes a few minutes to prune your tree using pruning shears.

  1. Prune at the right time

    Prune your sweet olive tree twice, during the fall and early spring after the fall and winter flowering. Because this shrub doesn't blossom until autumn, pruning at the wrong time removes buds. Avoid pruning the shrub during the spring and summer.

  2. Remove old growth

    When you prune your shrub, remove old growth. The shrub does not blossom on the same growth during consecutive years, so cutting back old growth prepares it for its growing season.

  3. Remove suckers

    Prune away suckers from the base of the plant.

  4. Prune for size and shape

    Prune your sweet olive tree to retain its size and shape. This shrub can grow up to 30 feet in height and 8 feet in width. If you have limited space, prune the tree regularly to keep it at the desired size. If you merely want to keep the shrub to a certain shape, only prune it lightly. Hard pruning can prevent flowering for a year, although it does not otherwise harm the plant.