Parasite of the olive tree: Massariella oleae
Currently, we’re dealing with a parasite of the olive tree known as Massariella oleae.
It consists in a fungi that attacks the olive groves causing a cancer of the bark. It established in the aftermath of the abnormal snowfall of this spring. In fact, here this weather condition has never occurred before. Since on the Argentario’s Promontory we have a sort of a stand-alone microclimate. Nevertheless, obviously this area isn’t immune to Climate change effects.
Hence, now we’re tackling with these parasites of the fruit trees.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist a treatment for the Massariella oleae yet. We should have done some prevention treatments in Spring, but we had no time. So, the only action we can take to safeguard our olive groves is the pruning of the sick branches.
Of course, this isn’t the right season to do it, because it results in a reduction of the production of oil in September. However, luckily just a small percentage of our olive trees are sick on the 50 ones we have.
Therefore, we’re cutting the sick branches and then burning them. Indeed, this parasite of the olive tree is really invasive and it’s carried by the olive fruit fly. So, the only chance to prevent an epidemic is to set the diseased branches on fire.
But it’s not an easy task, since most of them are still green and fresh. I spent many hours attempting to lit the fire in our cottage to destroy them. Indeed, one box full of them with the wasted olives is still waiting in our living room.
Besides, it broke my heart to sacrifice all these olives that have been growing on the sick branches. But we had to take this harsh decision in order to protect our olive groves.