Sweet olive trees, also called tea olives, are evergreens that can reach heights of up to 30 feet, depending upon the variety. In fall the trees produce small white flowers that are incredibly fragrant. Sweet olive trees do not require extensive pruning, but look best when trimmed regularly to control their shape. They can also be cut back to the desired size, making them a good choice for gardeners with limited space. Most varieties of sweet olive should be pruned in early spring, before new growth begins.
Prune to control shape and size in early spring. Remove the branches back to their point of origin and follow the natural shape of the tree.
Clip off any branches that are crossed or rubbing against one another. This will allow more light to reach the center of the tree and will increase the number of blooms that develop.
Remove dead, diseased or damaged foliage as necessary.
Trim back to a height of 6 to 8 inches if many branches begin to die or if the tree has developed an unattractive shape.