Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Prune Sweet Olive Trees

...
Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

Tip

Always make clean cuts and remove limbs and branches at their point of origin. Do not remove more than one-third of the foliage at one time unless pruning to stimulate new growth on old or misshapen trees.

Warning

There are two spring-blooming varieties of sweet olive, Osmanthus delavayi and Osmanthus americanus, which should be pruned as soon as the blooms have faded in mid-spring or early summer. Sweet olive trees that are pruned heavily may take a few years to bloom again.

Sweet olive trees, also called tea olives, are evergreens that can reach heights of up to 30 feet, depending upon the variety. In fall the trees produce small white flowers that are incredibly fragrant. Sweet olive trees do not require extensive pruning, but look best when trimmed regularly to control their shape. They can also be cut back to the desired size, making them a good choice for gardeners with limited space. Most varieties of sweet olive should be pruned in early spring, before new growth begins.

Prune to control shape and size in early spring. Remove the branches back to their point of origin and follow the natural shape of the tree.

Clip off any branches that are crossed or rubbing against one another. This will allow more light to reach the center of the tree and will increase the number of blooms that develop.

Remove dead, diseased or damaged foliage as necessary.

Trim back to a height of 6 to 8 inches if many branches begin to die or if the tree has developed an unattractive shape.

Related Articles

What Weed Killer Kills Buckthorn?
What Weed Killer Kills Buckthorn?
How to Prune Sweetgum
How to Prune Sweetgum
How Fast Do Crabapple Trees Grow?
How Fast Do Crabapple Trees Grow?
When Do Pecan Trees Produce Nuts?
When Do Pecan Trees Produce Nuts?
Are Chinese Palm Plants Poisonous to Cats?
Are Chinese Palm Plants Poisonous to Cats?
How to Prune an Italian Cypress
How to Prune an Italian Cypress
Facts on Sweet Olive Trees
Facts on Sweet Olive Trees
What Does a Quince Tree Look Like?
What Does a Quince Tree Look Like?
How to Prune a Linden Tree
How to Prune a Linden Tree
What Is the Correct pH Level for a Peach Tree?
What Is the Correct pH Level for a Peach Tree?
How to Care for a Weeping Norway Spruce
How to Care for a Weeping Norway Spruce
How to Prune a Russian Olive Tree
How to Prune a Russian Olive Tree
Garden Guides
×