Remembering The “Great Freeze” Of 1985 And New Olive Training System

Olive tree training system tuscany
In 1985, we had the "Great Freeze" with 50 cm of snow and for us polar temperatures, arrving at -15/-20° C.

The grape vines saved themselves but the olive trees, a plant more sensitive to cold, didn't fare as well and roughly the 70% of our olive tree patrimony died.

It was a great loss for the estates of Montalcino but also for the rebirth of olive cultivation. In the 1950s, olive trees had been planted with low density per hectare in the when growers used to cultivate olive trees, vines, and wheat in the same parcels. Many of these were grubbed up.
The new plantings, with 350/400 olive trees per hectare, took up more space because the costs were lower. Many growers replanted using the "vaso policonico" (multibranched vase-shaped) training system, which had been created by Prof. Fontanazza of the CNR (Italian National Center for Research) in Perugia and sponsored strongly by the Province of Siena. This training system was intended to favor above all mechanical harvest and to lower one of the greatest costs in production: harvest.

We do not wish to comment on or criticize that which was done then.

The fact is that at least here on our estate, these olive trees still produce little.

Finally this year, in agreement with the owners of the estate, we have decided to renew the training system and we have passed, with drastic pruning of the trunks, from the "monocono" (cone-shaped) to the "vaso" (vase-shaped).

To arrive at the results, three years must pass, where we will have to give to the plants the shape needed through pruning interventions.

We have recently however taken the first steps.

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