After the birth of the mignules and the blooming of the flowers during the mignoling and flowering phases of the tree, the most important and crucial phase of the olive tree life cycle begins: fruit set.
Usually, between the end of May and the first half of June(barring special weather situations and temperature changes) the first small olives begin to appear on the branches of olive trees.
But how are they born?
Setting is the key stage in the life cycle of the olive tree because it is at this time that the first fruits begin to emerge from which we can produce the much-loved and precious EVO oil.
As we had already mentioned in the article “Pinking or Flowering? Two life stages of the olive tree“, only a small part of the flowers that bloomed in May will turn into fruit, namely olives.
During this stage of the olive tree’s life cycle, the amount of fruit that the olive tree will be able to sustain and develop until the olive ripening stage is determined.
Excellent fruit yield and overall health of the olive tree will be ensured precisely during this vital stage of the tree.
The process of the Allegation of the Olive Tree
But when does this phase begin? Setting usually occurs in June, toward the end of spring and after the tree has flowered.
The olive tree, during this stage, produces a large number of flowers, only a portion of which it is able to sustain and develop (or rather transform into fruit). Employing all the resources and nutrition it has at its disposal, it only manages to turn 3-5% of the flowers that have bloomed during the flowering stage into olives.
It is therefore a mechanism that the olive tree develops in order to eliminate excess flowers and allow optimal distribution of resources to the remaining fruits.
Why is fruit set important?
This stage of the olive tree life cycle is essential and very important for several reasons. Let’s analyze the main ones together.
1. Fruit production
At this stage, the flowers begin to transform into fruits through their fertilization. Not all flowers participate in the formation of the fruit: only a small part is destined to attach, that is, to turn into olives, because of the high difficulty of pollinating olive flowers and the high percentage of self-sterile olive varieties, unable to pollinate themselves.
This stage turns out to be one of the most important because it determines the amount of fruit that will appear on the tree and later be harvested to produce olive oil.
2. Quality fruits
The fruit set help ensure good, quality fruit production. By removing the excess flowers that have sprung up during flowering, the olive tree is able to concentrate its nutrients on developing the remaining flowers(efficient resource management), allowing the fruit to grow in a much healthier way.
In a nutshell: better olive yield and superior fruit quality.
3. Overall health of the tree
Removing the excessive fruit load reduces the stress the tree has to endure and prevents some problems such as branch breakage and reduced disease resistance.
In addition, this promotes air circulation and sunlight penetration inside the tree, promoting the phenomenon of photosynthesis and contributing to the balanced growth of the plant.