How to Prevent Olive Fruit on Olive Trees

Olive trees are a beautiful landscape plant, but the fruit can be messy.
Olive trees are a beautiful landscape plant, but the fruit can be messy. (Image: olive image by Roques Jean Chris from

Olive trees make an attractive addition to your garden, but not many homeowners are prepared for the rigorous demands of harvesting and canning the olives. Olive trees produce numerous flowers in the spring that can be messy, followed by the equally messy dropping of the olives, which leave an oily, purple stain. There are safe and effective ways of preventing flower formation on your olive tree, or preventing fruit .formation if flowers are allowed to bloom.

Things You'll Need

  • Growth regulator such as Maintain CF 125
  • Growth regulator such as Florel
  • Handgun sprayer
  • Pruning shears
  • Gloves
  • Face mask

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Trim back any suckers or budding branches on your olive tree as soon as the danger of frost has passed for your growing area. Blossoms don’t set in the same place twice, so you will not damage your olive tree. This will reduce the number of blossoms, but not eliminate all of them.

Apply a growth regulator that will prevent flowers from forming, such as Maintain CF 125. Most regulators can be applied with handgun sprayers. Follow package directions to mix the growth regulator, and wear gloves during application. This must be done before buds begin to open, some time between January and March depending on your region.

Apply a growth regulator such as Florel if you want to enjoy the flowers, yet prevent fruiting. When daytime temperatures reach above 65 degrees F, and your flowers begin to open, mix up a batch of the growth regulator per package instructions. Wearing gloves, spray your olive tree with the growth regulator. Be sure to coat the leaves and flowers. To be effective, the growth regulator must reach the inside of the flowers.

Wait at least a week and repeat the application. The blooms should die and fall off of the tree. The application can be repeated until temperatures reach above 95 degrees F.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not spray on a windy day.
  • If you are sensitive to chemicals, wear a face mask.
  • Do not apply a growth regulator to trees that are already under stress due to insect attack, disease, or drought.


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