The pruning of olive (Olea europaea L.) trees is an expensive practice in olive growing. In this paper we report on the 20 year performance of an olive orchard managed by coppicing. This alternative method was developed to minimize pruning costs and simplify orchard management. Trees were planted at 6 x 6 m distance in spring 1969 and trained to a vasebush by regular annual pruning until spring 1980, when the orchard was divided into 10 plots of about 20 trees each and all trees in one plot were cut off at ground level. In the following years coppicing was extended to one additional plot per year until 1989. In 1990 the plot first coppiced in 1980 was coppiced again to begin a second cycle of coppicing. During the 10 years of each cycle, pruning was limited to the elimination of a few suckers in the centre of the canopy on the third year after coppicing. Thus, the coppiced system required a maximum of 14 min/plant of pruning over 10 years corresponding to 6.5 h ha(-1) year(-1) of unskilled labour. The onset of fruit production occurred the third or the fourth year after coppicing. Fruit yield of the coppiced orchard was 85% of that of an adjacent orchard trained to vasebush (control). Alternate bearing was less in the coppiced orchard than in the control orchard. No effect of coppicing was found on fruit or oil quality, or occurrence of pests and diseases. The coppicing method is not only suitable to rejuvenate old olive trees but also to manage orchards sustainably at a minimum cost for pruning. The main disadvantage is the unsuitability for mechanical harvesting by trunk shakers because the plant canopy is formed by multiple stems.

Performance of an olive orchard managed by coppicing for 20 years

GUCCI, RICCARDO;
2001

Abstract

The pruning of olive (Olea europaea L.) trees is an expensive practice in olive growing. In this paper we report on the 20 year performance of an olive orchard managed by coppicing. This alternative method was developed to minimize pruning costs and simplify orchard management. Trees were planted at 6 x 6 m distance in spring 1969 and trained to a vasebush by regular annual pruning until spring 1980, when the orchard was divided into 10 plots of about 20 trees each and all trees in one plot were cut off at ground level. In the following years coppicing was extended to one additional plot per year until 1989. In 1990 the plot first coppiced in 1980 was coppiced again to begin a second cycle of coppicing. During the 10 years of each cycle, pruning was limited to the elimination of a few suckers in the centre of the canopy on the third year after coppicing. Thus, the coppiced system required a maximum of 14 min/plant of pruning over 10 years corresponding to 6.5 h ha(-1) year(-1) of unskilled labour. The onset of fruit production occurred the third or the fourth year after coppicing. Fruit yield of the coppiced orchard was 85% of that of an adjacent orchard trained to vasebush (control). Alternate bearing was less in the coppiced orchard than in the control orchard. No effect of coppicing was found on fruit or oil quality, or occurrence of pests and diseases. The coppicing method is not only suitable to rejuvenate old olive trees but also to manage orchards sustainably at a minimum cost for pruning. The main disadvantage is the unsuitability for mechanical harvesting by trunk shakers because the plant canopy is formed by multiple stems.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/237400
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