Oliviada blog is reader-supported. We occasionally add Amazon affiliate links to help the reader find relevant products. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small commission.

olive tree leaves turning yellow

Why Olive Tree Leaves Turning Yellow? Reasons | Prevention

Yellow olive tree foliage can indicate a number of correctable problems, but if you’re attentive, you can fix it easily. Often, olive tree leaves turning yellow when the tree is experiencing some kind of major change in nutritional intake. This might mean that the olive tree has a parasite or it could indicate a need for better feeding techniques. Here I listed a few of the most common reasons your olive leaves are turning yellow:

Main Reasons for Olive Tree Leaves Turning Yellow

This table lists the main reasons why your olive tree leaves turning yellow and the ways to fix it:

Olive Leaves Turning Yellow Advice on How to Fix It
1. Overwatering Regular watering habits
2. Lack of Nutrients Check soil & feed olive tree accordingly
3. Lack of Sunlight Place in the sunniest location
4. Peacock Spots & Other Pests Spray with pesticides
5. Seasonal Changes Monitor overall health of olive tree

1. Overwatering

The most common reason is related to watering. For instance, if the olive tree is overwatered, the soil is waterlogged and aeration is subsequently deprived. As a result, the olive tree root system will deteriorate or rot and leaves will turn yellow and dry up. Then, eventually will start dropping.

What are the olive tree overwatering symptoms and how to prevent it from happening, you can find out in the article here.

2. Lack of Nutrients

Another reason for olive leaf discoloration is related to the lack of the most important nutrient nitrogen or iron. If olive trees are not getting enough of the good stuff, the deficiencies in nitrogen, iron, zinc or magnesium will be reflected in the pale olive leaves. In the case of manganese deficiency, the discoloration will first affect the younger leaves, thereas magnesium deficiency first will show on older leaves.

You can test the soil with a soil meter, then make the necessary adjustments. In some cases, the nutrients are there, but unavailable due to problems with the soil pH. Therefore, it may require a stronger treatment specific to the problem.

For example, olive trees suffering from a nitrogen deficiency have yellow leaves and poor growth. So, nitrogen should be applied around trees regularly. as well, if your tree is low in iron it can cause chlorosis and the iron deficiency symptoms will be reflected on yellowing olive tree leaves.

3. Lack of Sunlight

As well, if your olive tree is in the shade or inside and does not have enough sunlight it will not photosynthesize appropriately. Because of it, the tree leaves turn yellow.

4. Peacock Spots & Other Pests

Olive tree leaves turning yellow with black spots or also known as peacock spots. It’s a prevalent condition for olive trees, especially during the growing season. It’s a lesion that is caused by fungus. The problem is, these spots can be spread because of the bad weather or other insects.

As well, sap-sucking insects such as aphids, whiteflies, scale, mealybugs, mites can cause damage to leaves that develop yellow spots and eventually spread an infestation if not cured. How to control pests and get rid of them, read more on our article about problems with olive trees.

5. Seasonal Changes

Finally, the olive trees shed leaves like other plants. So leaves yellowing and drop is most common prior to going into winter slowdown but can occur in small quantities throughout the year. Even so, such type of yellowing and leaf drop should not be alarming – it is a normal part of the olive growth cycle.

olive leaves turning yellow because of natural growth
Random olive tree leaves turning yellow and dropping can be caused by the seasonal changes

How to Prevent Olive Tree Leaves Turning Yellow?

After you identify the reasons why your olive tree leaves turning yellow (with spots), then you can easily protect it from happening again and regularly care for the olive tree. For this reason, I listed 5 steps for the prevention of olive tree leaves changing color and dropping off.

  1. Feed the Tree Well

The olive tree needs all the nutrients it can get to grow healthy. Like any other plant, if it’s healthy, it will avoid having peacock spots and other diseases. It will not suffer from the leaves turning yellow or brown if it’s well-nourished.

Even if you water it regularly, also try to add some other nutrients to the soil. You can add some liquid feed or add some fish blood and bones to add nutrients to the ground. That will ensure that your olive tree will be healthier and avoid having any issues.

Depending on the size of the plant, mature olive trees need between 0.7 and 1 kg (1.5 and 2 pounds) of nitrogen annually. Thus, apply fertilizer in December to assist fruit development, in spring to fuel new growth and, if necessary, in the summer if the tree is growing poorly.

  1. Moisten the Soil

Avoid overwatering the olive tree since it can be bad for the plant. However, make sure that the soil is moist. The olive tree likes it when the soil is moist enough, and it can be healthier. It will avoid catching a disease that usually shows from the leaves.

This is best avoided by adjusting irrigation practices or consider mechanically improving aeration to solve the drainage issue. So make sure to have a drainage system because it can flush away the excess water. As a result, it will prevent the roots from being rotten due to overwatering. Just make sure not to leave the soil dry so that it will not suffer.

  1. Prune the Tree

Pruning is another way to keep your olive tree healthy. When the new shoots are showing, pinching them will promote growth. It can also make its branches to get more sunlight so that it will not have any issues when the fruit begins to sprout.

During the late spring and early summer, make sure that the branches are thinned out. That will help the center of the olive tree to be exposed to more sunlight. It will also help the production of the fruit to be more comfortable for the plant.

  1. Expose to the Sunlight

Olive trees are better if exposed to more sunlight. It’s the type of plant that needs a lot of sun exposure to become healthier. That will ensure their growth to be better as well. The more sunshine to the plant, the better it will grow.

The sun can also help the olive tree leaves to stay dry. It will avoid mildew to sit for a long time. That will cause some fungus to stick to the leaves. It will make the leaves turn yellow and develop black spots, which is not suitable for them.

  1. Take Off the Diseased Fruit

When the olive tree produces fruits, make sure to observe them. Sometimes, a couple of fruits may look good, but some may not. If you notice that something is off from the fruit, it’s best to remove it from the tree as soon as possible.

If the diseased fruit is not taken out, it can affect the entire olive tree. It’s better also to maintain the height of the olive tree. Keep it down by removing its crown so it will not grow too high. It will help the plant to stay healthy so it can survive longer.

Growing olive trees? Join our olive tree growers community on Facebook, ask questions, share experiences, and post pictures of your olive trees! Click here to join

Conclusion: Why Olive Tree Leaves Turning Yellow?

There’s nothing better than to prevent the olive tree leaves from turning yellow with black spots. It can be avoided by making sure to always observe the trees if there is something not familiar going on. That will help to keep the olive tree healthy and produce fruits that you wanted to harvest from them. It’s essential to take good care of your plant so that they will avoid having peacock spots and provide fruits that you can use for making delicious meals.

Read Next:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *