How To Prune An Olive Tree In A Pot: The Complete Guide

Olive trees are a great addition to any garden or balcony, adding greenery and beauty while also producing delicious olives. However, maintaining an olive tree can be quite challenging at times, especially if it is grown in a pot. One of the most important tasks that needs to be done regularly is pruning.

Pruning an olive tree in a pot may seem like an intimidating task for many people who are new to gardening, but with proper guidance and knowledge about the right techniques, anyone can tackle this job successfully. In this blog post, we will discuss step-by-step instructions on how to prune a olive tree in a pot.

Why Prune Olive Trees?

Pruning helps in shaping the plant and controlling its growth. It promotes healthy growth by removing dead or diseased branches that might hinder new shoots from growing well. Proper pruning also improves air flow and sunlight penetration within the canopy of the plant which encourages better fruiting.

When Should You Prune An Olive Tree?

The best time to prune an olive tree is during late winter/early spring when there’s no risk of frost damaging newly exposed parts of the plant as they grow back after pruning. A good rule of thumb is to avoid pruning during hot summers as this tends to increase water loss through transpiration leading to stress on your plants.

What You Will Need To Get Started

Before you begin pruning your olive tree it’s crucial you have all necessary tools needed for smooth cutting:

– Secateurs: used for cutting small branches
– Loppers: used for thicker branches
– Hand saws: used when loppers cannot cut effectively due thickness.

Steps To Follow When Pruning Your Olive Tree

1) Clear Off The Dead Branches And Leaves

Start by removing all dead leaves and twigs around your potted olive tree with secateurs until only live foliage remains.

2) Identify And Remove Suckers

Suckers refer to shoots that emerge from the base of the tree. They steal nutrients from your main plant resulting in stunted growth and low productivity. Use secateurs to chop them off.

3) Remove Crossed Branches

Examine your olive tree for any crossed branches that rub against each other causing wounds which are a breeding ground for pests and diseases. Cut one of the two intersecting branches with loppers or hand saws to avoid further damage.

4) Prune The Top Of Your Olive Tree

Pruning olive trees in pots doesn’t require much work on top since they naturally restrict their height when growing roots within a limited space, but if it has grown too tall, trim back its top with hand saws until it’s slightly shorter than desired height to allow room for new growth.

5) Thin Out Overcrowded Areas

Remove excess shoots around crowded areas at least 1/3″ above where they join another branch using secateurs.

6) Shape The Canopy Of Your Olive Tree

Lastly, decide what shape you want your potted olive tree to take and prune accordingly. If you like a bushy look leave several leaves per shoot while removing others making sure not to cut back more than 1/3rd of live foliage within one growing season.


Pruning an olive tree can be daunting at first, especially if grown in pots, but once you master these simple steps it will become part of your gardening routine as well as promote healthy growth ensuring ample fruit production year after year. Remember that good pruning techniques contribute directly towards a successful harvest! Just make sure you have all necessary tools before starting out and be gentle when working near fresh shoots so as not to damage young tissue before it hardens up into mature wood over time..