Olive- Input on initial large cutbacks?

Rivka

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I have a nice midsize olive that i got from a ladies yard last spring.
potted it up with as little disturbance as I could, since she had already ripped it out and unceremoniously dumped it in the street, poor thing

so now 6 months on, it seems content and growing, honestly took the whole move in stride.
So now I would like to cut it back considerably and make plans for it future form also need to plan at some point for a more through repotting down the road.

so:
can i get some clarity on good and bad timing for hard cutbacks? i have searched a good bit here and elsewhere and im getting vague inconsistent info

and anyone care to give input of where you might cut back to if this was yours?
53A80D9F-DFDD-40AD-AEF5-D965675A4207.jpeg3437A087-4C4D-4DD0-AD1B-7BCDEDE5BF05.jpeg
 

Shibui

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That one appears to have fibrous bark. All the olives here have very smooth bark. Leaves and shoots on yours look similar though. Any chance it may be something other than Olea europea?

If it is an olive, they are generally bomb proof. When we collect feral trees we frequently cut the base with a chainsaw and plant the stump. Nearly all of those grow new roots. We dig olives later in spring or in late summer/ early autumn. They seem to recover faster from root pruning when they are active so warmer weather is good.
Olives can be cut back any time of year. That may be why you are finding some inconsistent info. Response will be quicker when the trees are growing or about to grow so spring/summer gives quickest responses but pruning at other times will not kill them. We prune fruiting olives when harvesting so that's mid winter here (probably not so cold as where you are ) I often do a spring prune on the fruiting trees to reduce height and maintain shape.
 

leatherback

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where you might cut back to if this was yours?
I would probably take all the branches, cut back to the main trunk and be left with a tiny tree, which will look very big once scaled-down leaves and branches have grown.
 

Rivka

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That one appears to have fibrous bark. All the olives here have very smooth bark. Leaves and shoots on yours look similar though. Any chance it may be something other than Olea europea?
Anything’s possible. honestly i have no experience with the family Oleaceae. I was going off what the person told me it was and all the things i looked up seemed to agree.
 

Rivka

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I would probably take all the branches, cut back to the main trunk and be left with a tiny tree, which will look very big once scaled-down leaves and branches have grown.

would you cut them all the way back to the trunk (or within a safe distance for dieback)

Or would you leave an inch or two as part of the form? The inital branching looks like it would be a good thing to use in the creation of the overall form, making use of its thickness
 

Rivka

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Ok certainly learning and yesh i see a number of threads with really brutal cuts look good later
I had been thinking of something like B2579C7A-D228-42EA-A1BE-062015AFD10A.jpeg

im having trouble wrapping my head around why this would not be the prefered step. what am i missing?
 

AlainK

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"Pacific Northwest, USA" : well, that's a very big area with different climates. Where exactly ?

Olive trees grow south where I live, south of the river Loire, around the Mediterranean sea.

Trees that you can probably grow successfuly in "Pacific Northwest, USA" are not Mediterranean species.

Grow yourself a Sequoia sempervirens instead, not a Sequoiadenfron because you don't seem to understand which trees can grow in your environment.

Sorry, but from what I can see, it's not a matter of "where to prune", or "where shall I write my message". Seeing the look of the leaves, your tree is very weak. To me, it's a goner.

Have you ever seen olive trees in your surroundings ? Many olive oil farms in "Pacific Northwest, USA" ?

Try maple syrup instead.

Buy local, grow local.
 

Rivka

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Grow yourself a Sequoia sempervirens instead, not a Sequoiadenfron because you don't seem to understand which trees can grow in your environment.
Try maple syrup instead.

Buy local, grow local.

You have just stepped over the line from randomly argumentative to uncalled for rudeness.
And this is where I tell you to shut up and get out of my face.

This reply was not constructive, not called for and not even based in common sense.
 
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Adair M

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Ok certainly learning and yesh i see a number of threads with really brutal cuts look good later
I had been thinking of something like View attachment 325347

im having trouble wrapping my head around why this would not be the prefered step. what am i missing?
No, like this:


162F6CC2-9B49-428B-8F22-DC1F64EE0DE6.jpeg

Also get rid of that “air root”.
 

Bonsai Nut

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im having trouble wrapping my head around why this would not be the prefered step. what am i missing?

Because you are left with a bunch of stumps sticking out of your trunk. Even if you get a lot of branches, you will still be left with a big chunk of wood sticking out of the side of the tree. Instead, put on your "mini tree" glasses. A big ancient tree in the wild wouldn't have those stumps. They are a sign of a big branch that broke off. They would have a jin or a hollow. Instead, trim the branch off flush, so it will heal and any new growth that pushes will be in scale with the future scale of the tree. Think of the future scale of your bonsai, and the width of your main branches to your trunk. In a sapling, the branches can be as wide as the trunk. In an old tree, they are much less... perhaps 10% or even 5% of the trunk width. That is the scale you should be shooting for.
 

Rivka

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Think of the future scale of your bonsai, and the width of your main branches to your trunk. In a sapling, the branches can be as wide as the trunk. In an old tree, they are much less... perhaps 10% or even 5% of the trunk width. That is the scale you should be shooting for.
thank you for detailing this out more, it makes sense. I guess i was thinking of general “taper” and thinking they provided a intermediate size for the first step in the branching as they smaller than the main trunk.
I’m new to this and grateful to learn.
do you agree with the visual Adair suggested just now?
 

John P.

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You have just stepped over the line from randomly argumentative to uncalled for rudeness.
And this is where I tell you to shut up and get out of my face.

This reply was not constructive, not called for and not even based in common sense.

I think what he was trying to say before adding a heap of condescension is that there is something to be gained from growing trees that are climate-appropriate. It saves you from fighting issues that are going to be perpetually a challenge to you.
 

Rivka

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I think what he was trying to say before adding a heap of condescension is that there is something to be gained from growing trees that are climate-appropriate. It saves you from fighting issues that are going to be perpetually a challenge to you.
Yeah i get that. I’m in a what is classified as a warm-summer mediterranean climate (or Csb type) so its not too far out of range for an olive.
It will have to be one of the ones a give shelter to in our short coldest portion of winter, but i have cared for orchids for more than a decade, so i have thd set up to give it the little extra care.

I have focused on more native plants and in large part that is what has been drawing me away from orchids and towards bonsai (our local terrestrial orchids are not tolerant of cultivation) but a random low cost plant here and there for the experience and exploration is sometimes worth it.
 

Potawatomi13

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Yeah i get that. I’m in a what is classified as a warm-summer mediterranean climate (or Csb type) so its not too far out of range for an olive.
It will have to be one of the ones a give shelter to in our short coldest portion of winter, but i have cared for orchids for more than a decade, so i have thd set up to give it the little extra care.

I have focused on more native plants and in large part that is what has been drawing me away from orchids and towards bonsai (our local terrestrial orchids are not tolerant of cultivation) but a random low cost plant here and there for the experience and exploration is sometimes worth it.

Guessing since you collected from someones yard it was locally? Could it be a "hardy" Olive? There's another side to Portland climate possibly not yet seen by you. Times of brutally cold Icy freezing windy weather there because of Columbia River gorge. Rain or thawed snow frozen all over everything for days:(. The brunt of this does not go too far south from you.
 

leatherback

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Use any cut paste you like.
Hm..

I have a tendency to leave these stubs and yin them later on, because I think to know olives will not cover cuts.

@Adair M do you have different experience? Do you get olives to close the gaps? Or will they remain as shari forever-and-ever?
 

leatherback

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Sorry, but from what I can see, it's not a matter of "where to prune", or "where shall I write my message". Seeing the look of the leaves, your tree is very weak. To me, it's a goner.
@AlainK that was an odd message :).
Why do you think this tree looks weak? To me the olive looks fine?
 
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