ATHENA is a versatile harvester and it is particularly suitable for intensive plantations (400-800 trees/ha) with a row spacing of 5-7 meters.
The machine can reach its maximum efficiency, with working speed up to 2 km/h and more than 95% of the crop harvested, when only a few wooden main branches are growing perpendicularly to the row.
This suggests to prune the trees to create a sort of hedge with the main branches running in the direction of the row and the fruitful small flexible branches growing in the direction of the row spacing. The hedge can be 5 meters high starting the vegetation from 0.9-1 m.
This system of growing is suitable for high quality olive varieties, reducing the pruning cost (pruning is easier and can be mechanized) and drastically reducing the harvesting cost.