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When the olive tree loses leaves, there are several possible causes. In any case, quick help is needed to stop the loss of leaves, fix the trigger and prevent more serious damage to the tree. Interested parties can find out here what is important and how the problem can be easily resolved. But just as yellow and dried up can be prevented in advance with the right care.


Possible causes of leaf loss

If the olive tree loses leaves, the following causes can be responsible.

  • Waterlogging or watering errors
  • persistent drought
  • lack of light
  • wrong location
  • wrong wintering

In order to be able to fix the problem in a targeted manner, the cause must first be investigated. First and foremost, the substrate and site conditions must be checked. Of course, it is also important to check previous care.

Olive tree belongs to the olive family


Olive trees are designed to thrive in a rather dry climate. The roots reach very far and deep into the soil to be able to absorb the last moisture. The leaves give off little water through evaporation. Too frequent or too much watering or even waterlogging are therefore very poorly tolerated by the plants. Typical consequences are yellow leaves and root rot. The problem often occurs in the following cases.

  • too dark or too cool location where evaporation is reduced
  • excessive watering in winter
  • Poor or no drainage of water from the substrate

To prevent waterlogging or soil that is too moist, a few points should therefore be observed.

1. Create a drainage layer in the tub or planting hole by placing a thick layer of broken pottery or coarse gravel under the substrate.

2. Choose a suitable, permeable substrate.

3. Place the olive tree in a warm and dry location that is protected from heavy rainfall.

If the soil is already wet and yellow leaves or excessive leaf loss are evident, emergency measures must be taken immediately.

Olive tree with grey-green foliage

The following steps are crucial for this:

1. Remove the old substrate from the olive tree and carefully rinse away any remaining soil.

2. Carefully trim off any rotten, diseased, or dead roots with sharp scissors.

3. Leave the plant for a few hours to dry the roots without substrate.

4. Replant the tree, paying attention to the preventive points.

5. Water appropriately and limit to a few waterings, especially in winter and in darker, cooler locations. The substrate should dry well between watering.

Persistent dryness

Although the olive tree is adapted to dry climates, it loses dried leaves when there is a lack of water and prolonged drought. Since the problem here lies solely in insufficient humidity and insufficient watering, it can be remedied very easily and quickly.

at dry Locations, for example the living room with heating air, can be helped by occasionally spraying with water and regular airing. It is important to reduce the evaporation of moisture from the leaves. at too dry Substrate needs to be watered more often. Alternatively, the olive tree can also be repotted in a larger planter, as more soil also means a larger water reservoir.

lack of light

A dark location is not always problematic for the olive tree. However, it loses leaves if it is too dark and too warm at the same time. The reason for this can be found in the stimulated growth and the lack of photosynthesis. On warm locations growth is activated. However, if there is no light, sufficient photosynthesis cannot be carried out. So the plant lacks the energy to grow. To make up for this deficit, she discards leaves.

This can be remedied by placing the olive tree either lighter or cooler.

Olea europaea as a standard

Wrong location

Too dry or too moist, too light or too dark, too warm or too cold - if the site conditions are not right for the olive, it will be weakened. A common consequence is excessive leaf loss. Dry tips and yellow discoloration often precede this. If olive trees lose foliage, care and site conditions should be checked in any case.

Wrong wintering

A common mistake when wintering the olive tree is too high a temperature. The plants are placed outdoors by many hobby gardeners in the summer and brought indoors when the cold weather sets in. Here they are still warm but unfortunately often too dark and too dry. As a result, they lack the rest phase on the one hand. On the other hand, rapid weakening takes place.

So that olive tree does not lose any leaves, or at least as little as possible, during the winter, it should stand at temperatures of 10 to 15 degrees and with sufficient light. The hallway, a conservatory or professional winter storage in a nursery is ideal. It is also important to stop fertilizing and reduce watering. Watering is done about every two weeks when the substrate has dried sufficiently. Persistent wetness must be prevented as well as completely dried out soil. How large the amount of water should be depends, among other things, on the humidity. In dry rooms, the amount of water should be slightly larger or watered more frequently. In damp winter quarters, less watering is required.

The substrate is a good orientation. If this is quickly dry or huge, the weekly to bi-weekly watering amount can be increased.

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