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Olive Tree Leaves Turning Yellow: Causes & Fixes

Don’t bother reading the article if you aren’t a huge fan of olive oils. The left audience, we’re good to go.

The olive tree comes from numerous countries that support subtropical cultivation such as China, South Africa, Mexico, and other Mediterranean-like climates.

Olives come in various colors, but mostly green and brown. and the raw version has a kind of salty to mild and sometimes sweet flavor.

Fun Fact: The olive tree is a sign of peace and friendship. In Greek mythology, olive is associated with the goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and Poseidon. Legend has it that Greeks count the olive tree sacred.

What’s the Matter with Olive Tree Leaves Turning Yellow?

 I can guess that lately, you have been noticing some yellow leaves and wonder what’s wrong with these lavender flowers. 

Sure thing, something’s wrong but what is the cause? There isn’t only one answer, the high chance of yellow foliage is in the nutrition intake. Another possible reason can be excessive watering which directly reacts in the leaves. In the case of overwatering, the leave fall-off is the visible sign after yellow leaves.

The following reason stands in the root rot, other fungal diseases, and climate change are an indicator of the yellow leaves.

Now, let’s break into details for better identification of the issue and find the solution

Identify the Olive Oil Yellow Leaves

1. Watering more than Necessary

 Olive doesn’t require too much watering, let the plant alone for a while and wait for roots to dry completely before adding liquid, otherwise, the actions have consequences.

Just like other plants, three things are a must-have for photosynthesis are carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight, so they can transform light energy into chemical energy.

When overwatering happens, it clogs and suffocates the root. When you can’t breathe, you die, this is exactly what happens with plants too. So, yellow leaves are the indicator that informs you to stop watering.

Underwatering is another headache. Just when you say it’s ok, the soil looks fine, but it’s actually thirsty. Underwatering mostly happens in the potted version indoors than outdoors.

2. Nutrient Shortage

The nutrition deficiency, particularly iron and nitrogen causes the leaves to turn yellow. Not only discoloration but the taste of the oil will get affected by the shortage of the needed nutrients.

The lack of magnesium shows up in the foliage, especially in older leaves. You can examine the soil or ask professionals to deal with it.

3. The Poor Plant doesn’t Like to See the Direct Sunlight

Maybe the day-to-day sun exposure isn’t enough for oil trees. When it comes to sunlight, they are partially shady plants, so it would be a pity to leave the potted version for more than half a day.

If it gets more than 6 hours of sun exposure (especially direct) will cause the leaves to turn yellow and even fall off.

Bear in mind that oil tree needs sun to go through photosynthesis.

4. Doughnut Holes & Pests

Inside the olive tree can pests and flying insects throw a welcome party and create these doughnut-like spots in random places.

The pests give the leaves stress and after a certain point, the curly and yellow leaves are visible.

Put a Stop to Yellow Leaves on Olive Tree

1. Fertilize the Tree Regularly

The healthy growth of the oil tree needs nutrients and if the essential food is provided, the tree can fight those doughnut holes caused by pests.

For established olive trees, the ideal nitrogen is between 0.7-1.5 lbs. every year. Springtime seems to be the best time and it gives space to the tree to flourish in Summer and get the delicious fruit in the winter.

2. Keep the Soil Moisten

Maintaining the soil moisture and using the right soil type is the key. Pick dry, chalky/clay-rich soil, with more acidic alkaline with pH levels 5-8.5.

Bear in mind that moist soil is less likely to catch fungus disease.

3. Cease Overwatering and Underwatering

Have you ever wondered about getting an irrigation system? I feel like this is the time because the olive tree will have proper drainage holes in the container. The system will expel the excessive water and this way you will avoid both underwatering and overwatering.

If you don’t prevent overwatering, it will eventually deteriorate the leaves. So, in case you can keep up with a watering schedule, and don’t water the oil tree whenever comes into your mind, then you’re good.

4. Give the Needed Sunlight

Your olive tree won’t be capable of adequately photosynthesizing if it spends most of its time in the shadows or is kept indoors where it can’t get the full amount of sunlight that requires. 

To create chlorophyll, which gives plants their green hue, they must be able to photosynthesize. Olive tree leaves will yellow as a result of impaired photosynthesis.

5. Get Rid of Pests once and for all

The fungus spends the leisure time in your olive tree if you don’t give enough care, especially in the growing season when is in the most sensitive place. After it’s established, the plant is more durable against the diseases but still, the leaves undergo pest attack resulting in holes.

  • Fungicide appliance is the first nice and clean method.
  • Use cotton and wipe gently with soap the infected areas. Remember, pests like to live on the undersides of the leaf.
  • Spray pyrethrum all over the leaves and suspected branches as well and do it in the late afternoon or at night.

Keep repeating the process until you are 100% sure that the pests are gone for good. 

A Brief Recap

The olive oil as in Greek myths represents peace, and friendship and is sacred. Amen to whatever they say, even though sounds nonsense, but it’s interesting at the same time, anyways.

The most common reasons for yellow leaves are fungus disease that lives underneath the olive oil tree, overwatering and underwatering issues, not getting enough light, and nutrient shortage. 

If you are able to identify the issue, then the solution is a piece of cake.

Further Reading

You want to know more about the causes of Mandevilla leaves turning yellow or fix yellow money tree leaves. If you’re a freak and like lemons, you should check out the reasons why the leaves of the lemon tree leaves are yellow.


Ella Holmes

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