During May, work begins again in the Riviera Ligure olive grove. This year it was decided not to use organic fertilisers but to continue the work of pruning and shredding the residues.
Pruning, even though carried out a little late in the year, has been fairly light and aimed at thinning the canopy of the trees, eliminating the unproductive inner branches and dead tips. This process is basically a substantial yearly makeover of the trees. It is made easier when done with regularity, helping to maintain a low poly-conical vase shape with branches that descend, which make it easier to harvest them.
The procedure is carried out by 25 cm carving chain saw and with a hand saw, either used in the hand or on an aluminium extension. There is a fair quantity of branch cuttings that then need to be moved into the centre of the terraces by pitchfork.
At this point the shredder/mulcher comes into play. It’s an implement pulled by a small tractor suited to the narrow terrace widths particular to Ligurian olive cultivation. The shredder/mulcher crosses several times over heaps of pruned vegetation, while ensuring complete safety for the driver. In this manner, a natural, beneficial soil amendment is created for the olive trees. It is a method of fertilisation that inhibits the growth of weeds and creates a lighter soil, it also acts as an absorbent layer for any rain.
This is followed up with the prudent addition of fertilisers before the autumn rains, to ensure a good start in the growth of shoots during 2018.
At this time, it looks as though there will be abundant blossom, reflecting the general conditions throughout the Imperia province, as stated in the Riviera Ligure – Riviera dei Fiori bulletin concerning the DOP Riviera Ligure olive oil.