How to make bigger olives?


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I have a red olive tree that was here when we bought the house. It produces hundreds of small olives that are mostly pits. Is there a way to make bigger olives? I remember reading about peaches, pinching off the fruit so they were only a peach every few inches. Would that work with olives? Is there another way to increase their size?
 
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I have a red olive tree that was here when we bought the house. It produces hundreds of small olives that are mostly pits. Is there a way to make bigger olives? I remember reading about peaches, pinching off the fruit so they were only a peach every few inches. Would that work with olives? Is there another way to increase their size?
Yes. Basically, you do olives like peaches. You can remove blooms and set fruit. Another way is to thin out the tree by removing entire limbs, limbs that are crossing and also downward growing limbs.
 
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When you say 'red olive', do you mean the cultivated edible Olive, Olea europaea? There are other plants with the common name olive.

Thinning fruit can make the remaining fruit larger, but only if crowding is causing smaller size. Different selected olive cultivars vary greatly in size and much of this is genetically determined. Is your olive a cultivar or an unknown seedling? A bird-planted olive would likely produce fruit smaller than a selected cultivar.

There are cases of people playing with the plant hormone, gibberelic acid in order to make a plant's fruit or flowers grow to unnatural size. This is called 'gibbing'. I don't mean to open a can of worms, and I am not recommending you do this. I only mention it for the sake of curiosity.
 
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I'm afraid I don't know the specifics of the tree. It was here when we moved in, had a tag that said red olive tree. I have brine/cured a crop of olives and eaten them. They tasted delicious, meaty live an olive, just very small. This spring I gave the fruit tree fruit spikes and compost and the tree produced quite a bit more fruit than the previous years but still small sized.
 
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Good, so your tree is definitely Olea europaea. Do try thinning the fruit and see if it will enlarge the olives. The effects of thinning are partly tree-wide due to a higher leaf/fruit ratio, but there is also an effect that is local to each branch just because the fruit are not crowded. You could try thinning some branches and not others to see if you notice a difference.

One other caveat is that fruit size doesn't always signify quality. There are some very choice olive cultivars ('Arbequina'. 'Gaeta', etc.) that are known for producing small, intensely flavoured fruit. I don't know if they are thinned or not.

As a side note, I've learned that some commercial olives in California are 'hormonally thinned' with NAA (1-Naphthaleneacetic acid), a synthetic auxin. I'm not sure if this feasible or recommended for a home grower. I'm also not sure if this practice is allowed with organic farming. I wouldn't think so.
 
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Good, so your tree is definitely Olea europaea. Do try thinning the fruit and see if it will enlarge the olives. The effects of thinning are partly tree-wide due to a higher leaf/fruit ratio, but there is also an effect that is local to each branch just because the fruit are not crowded. You could try thinning some branches and not others to see if you notice a difference.

One other caveat is that fruit size doesn't always signify quality. There are some very choice olive cultivars ('Arbequina'. 'Gaeta', etc.) that are known for producing small, intensely flavoured fruit. I don't know if they are thinned or not.

As a side note, I've learned that some commercial olives in California are 'hormonally thinned' with NAA (1-Naphthaleneacetic acid), a synthetic auxin. I'm not sure if this feasible or recommended for a home grower. I'm also not sure if this practice is allowed with organic farming. I wouldn't think so.
You failed to mention the osmotic pressures possible between the circulatory system of.the plant and the soil. This Is exactly why I bought my EC meter. All ears over here bro!

In fairness, high humidity like we have here would dash transpiration into an unrecognizable mess, so bear that in mind should you choose to help describe that oddness for us.
 
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You failed to mention the osmotic pressures possible between the circulatory system of.the plant and the soil. This Is exactly why I bought my EC meter. All ears over here bro!

In fairness, high humidity like we have here would dash transpiration into an unrecognizable mess, so bear that in mind should you choose to help describe that oddness for us.
Was this post meant for your EC thread?
 
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Was this post meant for your EC thread?
No. But increased fruit size was a component of the reading I have been making an effort toward and this thread seemed appropriate to examine the balance of nutrients inside and outside a plant and how they might be induced into the plant and result in larger fruits. In what very little I have read it seems a narrow balance or range of electrical or ionic charges are at play. Of course it is a current interest of mine as you mention.

oich that was punny. sorry.
 
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Now that the fruit has set, is it too late to thin the fruit or prune branches? Should I wait till after the olives have been finished or do it next spring?
Generally, thinning needs to be done early in fruit development to have an effect. I'm not sure how far along are your olives. Try thinning a branch or two and see if you notice a difference.
 
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