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Yellow Leaves in Olive Tree – What to Do

Yellow Leaves in Olive Tree – What to Do

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The Olive Tree is a subtropical plant that is cultivated for agricultural and decorative purposes. It is found in various tropical countries like China, South Africa, Mexico, and many others.

It has got very appealing foliage and fruit that can be consumed after proper processing.

Olives can develop in a wide range of soils, are drought resistant, and retrieve nutrients effectively from the soil.

If no proper care is given to this tree, it will face many problems. 

Since it has got stunning foliage, it is important to take good care of them and help them fight problems relating to leaves.


Yellow Leaves in Olive Tree

Yellowing olive tree leaves can mean that the tree is either not watered properly or not receiving enough nutrients. Inadequate sunlight and frequent change in weather also contribute to the yellowing of the leaves. Peacock spot and sometimes root rot also causes yellow leaves.


Problems Causing Yellow Leaves in Olive Trees



The most widespread cause of yellow leaves is overwatering. 

For instance, if you overwater the tree, the soil becomes submerged, reducing aeration. This causes the roots to rot or deteriorate, triggering the leaves to turn yellow and dry up.

When the tree is overwatered, the yellowness appears in a mosaic form rather than solid yellow. 

The leaves also show crunchy brown tips, but they do not fall.



Another water-related problem is underwatering the Olive Tree. When you underwater the Olive Tree, the leaves are not supplied with the important nutrients it needs.

The tree might recover if you water it, but the damage is already done, and the leaves will become yellow and start to fall off. 

One benefit the Olive Tree has is that they react to water changes slowly, and you will notice symptoms after several weeks.

Often times the yellowing of the leaves is detected after it has been properly watered. 

This is quite confusing because although you have watered it, the damage was long ago done. You might mistake this by thinking that it lacks water, but in turn, you overwater it.


Changes in Weather

Even though Olive Trees are basically evergreens, they do shed their leaves. Most leaves have a lifespan of two to three years.

Leaf yellowing and fall are most prevalent during spring, but it’s possible to happen any season of the year. 

This type of yellowing and leaf decline is not a cause for concern except if a significant number of leaves are impacted.


Poor Sunlight

If you place the plant inside or in an extremely dark location, the plant will suffer a lot. The first thing is that the leaves of the Olive will turn yellow.

When the olive tree doesn’t receive enough sunlight, it is not possible to conduct photosynthesis. 

When the plant does not perform photosynthesis, it will not produce chlorophyll, which is crucial for producing green color in leaves. Which in turn leads to discoloration and yellowing of the Olive leaves.


Insufficient Nutrients

Another reason why your Olive leaves might be tuning yellow is the lack of the vital nutrients iron or nitrogen. 

If your Olive Tree is not supplied with a good amount of nutrients, the lack of magnesium, nitrogen, iron, and potassium will be detected with the discoloration of the leaves.

If you notice that the young leaves are turning yellow, then there is surely manganese deficiency. On the other hand, old yellow leaves indicate a magnesium deficiency.

To know about the condition of the nutrients in the soil, you can run a soil test. 

There are times when nutrients are there but unavailable due to problems with pH. Supply the soil with a stronger treatment in accordance with the problem.

For instance, nitrogen deficiency is detected by yellow leaves, so you must apply nitrogen to the soil on a regular basis. 

Likewise, lack of iron causes chlorosis which can be detected when leaves turn yellow.

Hence test your soil to know which nutrient it is lacking and then treat it accordingly.


Peacock Spots

Olive Tree leaves also turn yellow when they are affected by peacock spots or black spots. It is a very common issue that Olive Trees face during their growing season.

It is a spot brought about by a fungus. These spots can be easily spread to other leaves through insects and bad weather.

An Olive Tree gardener’s most challenging problem is pest or parasite infestation. Pests not only suck the nutritional sap, but cause various diseases as well.

Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and scales are among the most prevalent sap-sucking insects that cause yellow leaves in your Olive plant.

If these are not cured right away, they will lead to a ton of other problems for the plant.


Preventing Yellow Leaves in Olive Trees

Here are a few tricks you can use in order to avoid the tree from turning yellow:


Nourish the Tree Well

The Olive Tree requires all the essential nutrients to grow healthy. 

If it is given all the important nutrients, it will not have peacock spots, and so it will not suffer from any problem when nourished properly.

Although you can water it on a regular basis, it will be a good idea to add other nutrients to the soil. 

You can add fishbone meal or liquid fertilizer to the ground to enhance the nutrition level. This makes your Olive Tree healthy and happy.

To mature Olive Trees, add around 0.7 to 1 kg of nitrogen every year. Apply fertilizer in spring to boost growth, in summers to help trees thrive, and in winter to help fruit development.


Maintain Soil Moisture

Don’t overwater your plant but make sure the soil stays moist. Olive Tree enjoys moist soil and will not catch any diseases that come from leaves. It thrives very well in moist soil.

This can be done by practicing a good irrigation system and providing the tree with good aeration. It will be good to have drainage holes in the container as it will flush the extra water.

This also inhibits the rotting of the roots. However, be sure not to keep the soil very dry as this also triggers yellow leaves.


Frequently Asked Questions about Yellow Leaves in Olive Trees


Does improper watering trigger yellow leaves in an Olive Tree?

Overwatering and underwatering both leads to the yellowing of leaves. Too wet soil leads to root rot which causes yellow leaves. Likewise, too dry soil will not allow the production of chlorophyll by the leaves and lead to discoloring.


What to do when leaves are not receiving proper sunlight and leaves are turning yellow?

If your Olive Tree leaves are turning yellow because of poor sunlight, then it is important that you change the plant’s location. It must be placed in a spot where it gets proper and direct sunlight but not too much of it. Avoid placing in extremely dark spots.