We know the olive tree: tree and fruit
The olive tree, also sometimes called olive tree, is native to the Middle Eastern region. Since ancient times it is widespread throughout the Mediterranean area and in recent years it has been successfully exported to other countries with a similar climate such as Australia, California and South Africa. Belonging to the Oleaceae family, it is a very long-lived plant, in favorable climatic conditions it can live over 1000 years. It is an evergreen plant that has well-defined characteristics: cylindrical stem, gray bark and hard wood. Although it begins to bear fruit towards the third, maximum fourth year of age, it reaches full productivity only after the ninth year. The fruit is the olive, from which the oil is extracted: both represent a fundamental element of the Mediterranean diet.
Olive tree: conditions and methods for cultivation
The rapid spread of the plant has led to the evolution of a large number of varieties: in the Mediterranean alone, there are more than 1000. In Italy there are at least 500. The olive plant prefers temperate and warm climates and is characterized by the strong need for light. This plant adapts to all types of soil but does not like water stagnation. The geographical limits of the crop are determined by the plant's low resistance to cold and the possibility of prolonged periods of drought. The altimetric limit is rather variable. The planting is carried out from autumn to early spring by making a hole, placing draining material on the bottom and a small amount of fertilizer, inserting the plant, filling the empty spaces and finally irrigating it. Performing the operation in spring is strongly discouraged.
Olive: pruning and cutting
Pruning, in addition to increasing production, improves the shape of the tree, which tends to grow in an excessive and disordered manner. This irregularity removes light from the most productive branches, damaging their yield in terms of fruiting. The pruning of the olive tree must be done in a clear and decisive manner, since wrong cuts can weaken the tree and compromise its development. The ideal period for this operation is at the end of winter, precisely between March and May, that is the flowering season. Since the cold prevents the wounds of the wood from healing, performing this operation in the winter is not advisable. The possible appearance of dry branches can however be treated with cuts at any time of the year.
Olive tree: Strong symbolic meaning
The olive tree, a fundamental tree in the history of the Mediterranean-facing civilizations, has been a symbol of peace for all peoples of the world since ancient times. Numerous legends are told: in Greek mythology it is said that Athena, goddess of wisdom, offered an olive tree to the Athenians as a sign of peace after defeating Poseidon. The olive tree also appears in many biblical stories: a branch of this plant, for example, is between the beak of the dove that returns from Noah to announce the end of the universal flood; olive branches are also in the hands of the crowd waiting for Jesus to enter Jerusalem. This last episode, in particular, rises to the olive as a fundamental element for Christians, who, during the Easter period, commemorate this event with olive branches.