Why Olive Tree Leaves Curling? 6 Reasons | Cure | Prevention

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Olive trees planted in pots or in-ground is easy to grow once you establish regular and proper care and maintenance. Sometimes there may be some problems with your lovely tree and you will need to troubleshoot on a spot to prevent further damaging consequences.

So what should you do if you notice your olive tree leaves curling? It may be caused by multiple reasons. Olive tree leaves can curl due to overwatering or underwatering, as well if experiencing transplanting shock or if there is an insect infestation such as aphids, scale. mealybugs or mites or too many weeds around the trunk for young potted olive trees. In addition, too much fertilizing or chemicals can make your olive leaves curling.

You will notice usually healthy silver-grey olive leaves have curl when the leaves start curling upwards, wilting or looking wrinkled. So let’s look into each of these reasons for olive tree leaves curling and recommended cures.

Olive Tree Leaves Curling Reasons & Cures

In this table, I listed common reasons why olive tree leaves curling and possible cures:

Olive Leaves Curling Reasons Cures
1. Soil is Too Dry or Too Wet Regular watering; soil moisture check
2. Transplanting Shock Water more often up to 2 weeks
3. Pests Infestation Use insecticides
4. Temperature Fluctuations Place potted olive tree inside the house
5. Weed Problem Remove weeds around the trunk
6. Over-fertilized or too many chemicals Stop fertilizing and spray chemicals

1. Soil is Too Dry or Wet

If you already have some olive trees planted in pots, you have to ensure regular watering requirements. Since it can cause many issues if the plants are not watered enough. You should monitor their water levels to avoid getting too dry, which will cause the leaves to curl up mainly to do with a dried root system. That’s one sign that an olive tree is underwatered and needs more moisture. Basically, this is how olive leaves are trying to protect themselves from the sun to stop photosynthesis whenever the roots don’t get enough water.

Water your olive tree well and it will bounce back in no time! It’s essential to provide them just enough moisture so they will not get too dry and not too wet at the same time. It’s a must to observe the parts of your olive trees and see if they are growing healthy.

olive tree leaves curling
This is an image of our olive tree outdoors after having too much rain many days in a row in December. Should normalize after it sees more sunshine

2. Transplanting Shock

Olive tree leaves curling can happen after replanting or repotting. The roots may have some damage when you transplant into a new place or pot and need some time to establish roots to function normally. That wouldn’t be good for the plant since it cannot absorb water efficiently if its roots were damaged. Water more frequently the first 2 weeks after transplanting, let the roots to recover and get enough water. 

Before replanting the olive tree, make sure that the roots are all intact. Most of the seedlings are planted on those plastic growers. It will make replanting easier so that the plant roots will not get damaged. Be very careful when doing the transfer so it will not have any problems.

3. Pest Infestation

Another cause of curling leaves can be an insect infestation such as aphids, spiders, scale, mealybugs, or mites. Insects can suck out the nutrients from the leaves, making it weak. It will curl up to die to the loss of essential nutrients the plant needs to have healthy leaves. It’s not a good thing since the tree cannot photosynthesize properly.

The best solution is to use some natural insecticides such as salty water or cotton soaked in alcohol on the olive tree. However, if you choose to use stronger insecticides, make sure that they have less chemical to avoid causing more damage to the plant. But avoid overdoing it since some insects can build their tolerance to them, which will not be useful anymore in the long run.

leave curling due to pests infestation
This plant has a pest control issue: these little yellow spots are clear indications of pests infestation underneath the leaf

4. Too Hot or Too Cold

Another reason for olive leaves curling up, mainly edges is because of temperature fluctuations: too hot in the day and too cold a night. When leave edges start curling, could also be a sign of overwatering, but again this can be an underwatering sign also.

Definitely, first, identify the reason, and then treat accordingly. If outdoors temperature fluctuates too much, then bring a potted olive tree indoors for a season.

5. Weeds Problem

Weeds can sprout in any condition. It can take away the essential nutrients for your plants and make them unhealthy. If you have a massive olive tree plantation, it can be a problem since the weeds can grow so much. Too much water can promote weed growth, which will not be suitable for your plants in general.

Herbicides or weed killers will be very useful for your garden. Just make sure to use them when you start seeing the weeds sprouting. It can take just a few days for them to cover the entire area, so it’s better to get rid of them before it’s too late.

olive tree leave curling if the soil is too dry or too wet
The most common reason for olive tree leaves curling is due to underwatering. In order to protect themselves from the sun to stop photosynthesis, the leaves start curling

6. Too Many Chemicals

Using too many chemicals such as insecticides and herbicides can cause the leaves to curl. It’s because the leaves can absorb these chemicals that can end up bad for the crop. It’s best to have the right amount of these chemicals to avoid killing your plant in the process of protecting it.

There are a lot of natural insecticides and herbicides that are being used by farmers. It’s better to go for a more natural way to get rid of insects and weeds. Chemicals will not be suitable for your plant if it’s overkill already.

Last update on 2022-06-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Conclusion: Why Olive Tree Leaves Curling

Olive trees are not a desert plant, and it needs the right amount of water to survive. Leaf curling may happen from time to time, but you don’t have to worry too much about it. There are ways to avoid them from happening, and you can treat them when it’s already present.

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