Olive Tree All Over the Place? 5 Most Common Reasons For a Sad Olive Tree

Olive Tree All Over the Place? 5 Most Common Reasons For a Sad Olive Tree

June 21, 2022

Is your well-loved olive tree looking a bit tragic? Have you noticed dropping or wilting leaves during peak growing seasons? Although watching your plant struggle to thrive can be frustrating, reserve unnecessary stress until you’ve exhausted your green-thumb abilities. 

Truthfully, there are plenty of reasons why your olive tree may be flopping, from overwatering to root rot to inadequate sunlight. However, you can swerve past most plant-related bumps in the road by avoiding the following olive tree faux pas.

Your tree is root bound

A common cause of decreasing plant health is inadequate space, leading to root-bound systems. Unfortunately, potted olive trees are prone to root crowding, with severe cases climbing the edges of the pot due to fast-paced growth. When plants become root-bound, they often struggle to absorb enough water to remain hydrated throughout the week.

To save a root-bound tree, repotting as soon as possible is a must. Though the transferred vessel may be large for your existing olive tree, your plant will have room to spread its roots and thrive once more. 

Olive Tree All Over the Place? 5 Most Common Reasons For a Sad Olive Tree - fresh olive on branch in close up photography

Not enough sunlight

Insufficient sunlight is one of the leading causes of poor plant health. Olive trees need approximately 6-8 hours of direct rays each day. Without adequate access to sunlight, your tree could drop leaves, wilt, or fail to thrive entirely.

Another common sign that your olive tree isn’t getting adequate sunlight is if the leaves or branches are leaning toward a sun source. Indoor plants, in particular, tend to lean toward bright spaces, indicating they need additional sun throughout the day.

Sudden environmental changes 

Any sudden changes to your olive tree’s environment can cause stress to your plant. Therefore, consistency is vital when growing a successful stock, which means you must stick to a routine once you bring your olive tree home. 

If you happen to notice leaves dropping after moving your tree indoors, it could be due to the sudden temperature and light changes. For example, if your tree was in full sun in a warmer climate, moving it to a temperature-controlled or air-conditioned room could cause stress. 

Fungal infection

The bane of many gardeners’ existence is fungal infections on their plants. Unfortunately, most plants are susceptible to fungus, with many species acting as a herding ground for destructive fungi. A common fungus that affects olive trees is verticillium wilt, causing drooping leaves, dead stems, and poor growth.

Verticillium wilt is a soil-borne fungus that attacks the roots of large trees. Although it prefers deciduous trees, it’s also a common infection in olive trees. Unfortunately, verticillium wilt is cold and drought-hardy, able to survive in the soil for a decade or more.

Olive Tree All Over the Place? 5 Most Common Reasons For a Sad Olive Tree

Too little or too much water

All plants require a perfect balance of moisture in their soil as too much or too little water can result in root deterioration. Regarding potted olive trees, tightly-packed soil makes it much easier to overwater than those planted in the ground.

If your pot isn’t allowing water to drain or evaporate adequately, your olive tree might start to yellow or drop leaves. The easiest way to prevent this is by watering regularly, but only once the soil appears dry. If overwatering has damaged your plant, consider repotting or transplanting it to better growing conditions after cleaning off existing roots and cutting away dead appendages.

Wrapping Up

Olive trees make a lovely addition to any home or garden—but like any other plant, olive trees require proper care to avoid wilting or dying. Make sure to water your tree only as needed, provide adequate sunlight, and avoid rapid environmental changes. Once you know why your favourite tree is dropping leaves, you’ll be better able to return it to its healthy state.

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