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Exposure

Exposure

Proper light exposure is key when choosing a site to grow olive trees destined to olive oil production. Yield is, of course, very important. The trees should produce the maximum of olives and be as profitable as possible.
The first thing to consider is spacing. The olive tree produces its olives on the outlying periphery of its trunk, which means thetrees must have enough space in the orchard so that their outer branches are not in the shade.

It is important to note that an olive tree will not produce if it is in total or even partial shade.
When designing the orchard one must take into account the size the trees will have once they are fully grown and also the space necessary for mechanical operations. To allow for optimum sunlight exposure, many producers decide to prune their trees, meaning they manipulate the trees' growth to maximize olive production.

Pruning the trees in a tubular or lobular form allows for optimal sunlight exposure and close spacing in the orchard. This will allow for a wider canopy of producing branches to be exposed to the sunlight. Most producers also use rows running north/south for maximum sunlight exposure.


Olive trees should be kept as much as possible from exposure to extreme temperature, whether they are cold or hot. This is why olives are best harvested in Mediterranean or sub-tropical climates with very mild-winters (not colder than 15� Fahrenheit) and long, warm and dry summers. As we have already mentioned, olive trees only need significant watering when young, but they require optimal light exposure to bear olives of good quality and provide an excellent yield.

Resources:

  1. Pruning olive trees by the Division of Agricultural Sciences, University of California.
  2. Olive Production Manual by Steven Sibbett.
  3. Growing Olives: Information On Setting Up Your Own Olive Growing Enterprise by Dirk Dowling
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