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Olive orchard wind barrier

 
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Hello.
I have a 5 acre olive orchard in Turkey. The olives are very widely spaced. 7-8 meters between trees. And it is on a hill so it gets lots of strong wind. It makes it impossible to train the trees well. All the trees lean towards the west and cannot spread good and nice to spread and use all the sun. I was thinking of planting a couple of  wind barriers in the place. The go-to plant for wind barriers is densely planted Cypress trees. My question is, would these trees stress the olives in any way? Since the barriers would be north-south they are not gonna block the southern sun for any of the olives. Maybe they would shade the tree to their immediate vicinity just a bit. So I am willing to do that sacrifice to slow the wind down. Can you think of any downside to this? Or does anyone have any other windbreaking ideas?
IMG_20210327_145210_1.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210327_145210_1.jpg]
 
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I'm far from an expert on the subject. I remember that Martin Crawford's book had a pretty good section on wind breaks, but it didn't apply to my situation at the time so I skimmed it and haven't given it a more serious read since. If I recall correctly, the windbreak doesn't really need to be close enough to cast shade... it's more about breaking up wind patterns than creating an impermeable barrier. I'll see if I can find my copy of the book and report back with more details.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Here are a few pages on windbreaks that might help you determine if the book is with your while.
Doc Apr 01 2021 Description: Windbreak guides Click here to read this on cBook
 
Kero El turco
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These are great for the design. Thanks. Now my only doubt is if the cypress trees would create a chemical complication with the olives.like acidity or something else.
 
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You should also consider Laurus nobilis as windbreak as it grows rather dense and is also considered a mediterrean cash crop.
 
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An olive orchard should be able to protect itself. Maybe the planting pattern was wrong? 10 meters between trees seems right for 4-5 m tall trees. 1 to 2 meters of clear space between copices.
 
Kero El turco
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Abraham Palma wrote:An olive orchard should be able to protect itself. Maybe the planting pattern was wrong? 10 meters between trees seems right for 4-5 m tall trees. 1 to 2 meters of clear space between copices.



It does protect itself somewhat. And wind is good for olives. But also there is wind and than there is wind. You can see from the picture that grown trees are far from covering the area. That is because they bend towards the west and their east side remains empty. So it makes around 3-4 meters empty space between trees. Another thought is planting some dwarf olives in between.

I was thinking that the planting pattern should depend on the specifics of the landscape and the type of trees instead of applying a set formulae. After all, that's the whole idea of permaculture isn't it?
 
Abraham Palma
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I was thinking that the planting pattern should depend on the specifics of the landscape and the type of trees instead of applying a set formulae.


I think you hit the nail. Usually we plant the olives on the tractor convenience, with the wind as a second thought. When the wind is so prevalent, we should do the opposite.
But alas, your olive trees are already planted, you aren't going to move them. What you can possibily do is to play with your olive trees height. Maybe a row of taller olive trees could protect shorter ones behind and still give some yield.

Another thing to try is to prune them for wind resistance. Our olive trees are usually formed with three low trunks, very sloped, that results in a very wide and short canopy. I think this shape stands the wind pretty well (and makes it easier to climb on your trees, yey). Your trees, on the contrary, have one single straight trunk, so your canopy is very high, precisely where the wind is stronger.

Now it's late for reshaping, but maybe you can prune them to force lower side branches, and remove the central trunk once you have productive side branches.
Here's a typical spanish olive tree:
 
Kero El turco
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Abraham Palma wrote:

I was thinking that the planting pattern should depend on the specifics of the landscape and the type of trees instead of applying a set formulae.


I think you hit the nail. Usually we plant the olives on the tractor convenience, with the wind as a second thought. When the wind is so prevalent, we should do the opposite.
But alas, your olive trees are already planted, you aren't going to move them. What you can possibily do is to play with your olive trees height. Maybe a row of taller olive trees could protect shorter ones behind and still give some yield.

Another thing to try is to prune them for wind resistance. Our olive trees are usually formed with three low trunks, very sloped, that results in a very wide and short canopy. I think this shape stands the wind pretty well (and makes it easier to climb on your trees, yey). Your trees, on the contrary, have one single straight trunk, so your canopy is very high, precisely where the wind is stronger.

Now it's late for reshaping, but maybe you can prune them to force lower side branches, and remove the central trunk once you have productive side branches.
Here's a typical spanish olive tree:



The picture I posted is one of the older ones. Half of them are still younger (8-10 year olds). We can still shape them. I have talked with lots of villagers. Usually the idea is to make one trunk and then seperate into 3-4 main scaffolds. Nobody seems to be able to explain the reason though. What you are saying makes a lot of sense. I will do some more research and consider shaping the younger ones this way.
 
Abraham Palma
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Hmm, that's similar to how they form their olive trees in Seville. Seville is not windy, but it's hot as hell.

I read a guide on olive tree forming a while ago:
The moroccan way is to leave olive trees as small olive bushes, so they can pick the fruits by hand, for they are table olives. Also, they are more draught tolerant this way.
The italian way is one big and tall trunk, natural shape, to minimize working on the trees (but then they have to use long ladders and staffs).
In Spain we have this side sloped branches to maximize production per area. There are two models:
1. One short trunk with two to three branches (Seville area).
2. Two to three trunks per foot (Jaén area).
I think that the difference was that one style could be productive earlier, while the other will give more yields later on, but I don't remember which was which. If I had to make a guess, I should say that the ones with the single trunk can stand more weight, so they can grow bigger and have a bigger production in later stages. Maybe when they are three trees planted in the same spot, they are formed directly without any need to prune them, so they can start yielding sooner.
The book discussed also the french way of pruning olive trees, but I didn't pay attention since it's a different climate.

What I know is that the olive trees that are intended for table olives should be very short, to be able to pick by hand, and that the productivity of the tree increases when they have an open cone in the center to let the sun reach all the branches.
Wind is very damaging to fruit formation, by the way, so it will be wise to form them wider than taller.
 
Kero El turco
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Great information. Thanks.
 
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