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Whether you are growing an olive tree in-ground or in a pot in your back yard, overwatering your olive trees can cause serious issues. Overwatering not only drenches your olive tree but the soil around it may cause other imbalances.
Olive trees cannot tell you when they had too much water. But if you can recognize the olive tree overwatering symptoms, you can correct the situation of too much water with your tree before other problems with olive trees set in.
For this reason in this article, I am going to address some common problems with olive tree watering and help you to identify olive tree overwatering symptoms. I’ll begin with the most relevant question for olive trees growers.
What are Olive Tree Overwatering Symptoms?
One of the main overwatering symptoms is dropping olive tree leaves or yellow leaves. When an olive tree gets too much water, the roots may become unable to function properly, resulting in injury to the tree.
With this in mind, let us look into each of the olive tree overwatering signs in-depth.
Olive tree base is continuously wet
The first thing you should check is the base of your olive tree. If it is continuously wet then it is an obvious sign that you’re overwatering your tree.
Olive tree leaves dropping
If olive tree leaves become fragile, crack easily, and begin falling off more than usual, this can be another indicator of too much water.
Olive tree leaves changing color
If olive tree leaves seem to stop thriving, always check their color. Because olive tree leaves turning yellow or pale green or brittle can indicate that your olive tree has had too much water.
Olive leaves strange configuration
If olive tree new growths and leaves withers or curls before fully grown or begin growing into an uncommon configuration, this can be a sign of overwatering. Silver green but breakable olive leaves is another vital indicator that your olive tree is being overwatered.
Olive tree fruits dropping
If your olive tree is already bearing olive fruits, observe olives. If it begins dropping off the tree before it has ripened, your olive tree may have been overwatered.
These olive tree symptoms may be similar to signs of disease in your olive tree. In fact, some of these issues may also arise from underwatering!
What are the Damaging Results of Overwatering Olive Tree?
Overwatering can cause many problems for your olive trees such as a reduction in oxygen levels, root rot, nitrogen deficiency, and iron chlorosis. So I would like to explain the main ones causing issues for your olive tree:
Reduction in oxygen levels
Overwatering olive trees is a crucial mistake because it limits trees to breathe and take a sufficient level of oxygen. In fact, overwatering has a similar effect to drowning a tree. Because, if you constantly soaking the soil of your olive tree, the air plots fill up with water that should normally allow for oxygen uptake by the olive tree roots.
Therefore, your olive tree will get less oxygen to require photosynthesis on the leaves and, as a result, it will be harder to thrive.
Root rot is one of the most common results of overwatering. If olive tree roots do not get oxygen intakes for long enough, then there is a chance fungal infection will set in and stimulates root rot.
As a result, your olive tree roots won’t be able to absorb nutrients and water vital for its growth cycle. Consequently, it can take a toll on olive tree life if no preventing action is taken.
Watering less often may help if the fungal infection is mild. But in severe cases, the olive tree must be transplanted and the soil treated before replanting or repotting an olive tree.
Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for olive trees. And olive trees may suffer from nitrogen deficiency caused by overwatering issues, compacted soil, or root rot. In the case of nitrogen deficiency, the olive tree pulls nitrogen from the old leaves to fee the new growths. As a result, the older mature leaves will turn yellow while the new growth will appear healthy.
In severe nitrogen deficiency case, the olive tree leaves will brown and fall off the tree. More about the required nutrients for olive trees you can read in our article here.
Overwatering may cause other nutrient deficiencies. For example, the olive tree roots are not able to properly absorb iron reserves which are flushed by the water but are needed for the tree in order to remain healthy. This deficiency causes iron chlorosis.
The most obvious sign of iron chlorosis is that the olive tree’s leaves begin to yellow or pale green but the veins remain bright green. Furthermore, the olive tree leaves may fall off, and the tree looks unhealthy. It may have a negative impact on yield.
How to Save Overwatered Olive Tree?
After you have observed your olive tree and spotted the overwatering signs described above, here is how to fix overwatering issues:
- Don’t water olive tree for a few weeks and let it air-dry
- Check drainage holes of the pot and make sure they are not blocked. Choose the right pot and if needed repot into a large pot for olive trees
- For clay soil, add some well-draining commercial mix for better air circulation. As well, read our article about the best soil for olive trees
- Feed with fertilizers to bring the nutritional balance in the soil for your olive tree roots next time you water your plant
- Reach out to professionals if you still can’t figure out whether or not your olive tree has been overwatered. They may come and assess the overall situation and needs for your olive tree to remain healthy
How to Water Olive Tree Correctly?
The soil around your olive tree should be moist but well-drained. If you notice that water is accumulating on a surface, you may be watering too often. So how should you water your olive tree correctly?
When you water your olive tree, use a deep watering method. Give your tree a large amount of water, all all the same time, but letting your potted olive tree drink very thoroughly.
Another important olive tree watering fact is to let the soil in a pot dry between waterings. Then, air can get into the soil and reach the olive tree roots. As a result, the roots will dry and not rot due to moisture.
Find out my 5 tips on water requirements for olive trees and watch this video on how to water olive trees in pots.
Get a Moisture Meter as a Watering Helper
If you are a beginner olive tree grower, for the best watering habits use a moisture meter to measure the soil’s moisture levels between watering sessions as to decide if the tree is thirsty.
You can find a moisture meter at any garden store or available on Amazon online. In fact, they are very easy to use and can tell you when is not good to water your olive tree. It gives you an indication of olive tree overwatering symptoms.
Basically, all you need to do is to insert the thin post into the soil of your potted olive tree correctly, and the needle shows the moisture levels in the soil within a few seconds. Read more in our guidelines on how to use and read moisture meter for olive trees.
Last update on 2024-02-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Checking Soil for Olive Tree in Ground
If you not sure if you overwatering olive tree planted in the ground, dig about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) below the surface and feel the ground in your hands. The soil should be cool and moist, but not sopping wet. If the deep soil near your olive tree is noticeably soggy, then you’re probably guilty of overwatering.
Final Thoughts on Olive Tree Overwatering Symptoms
The best advice would be always to pay attention and observe your olive trees. Usually, olive tree overwatering symptoms will leave a trace on olive tree leaves which you need to decode, respond to them, and end up with the healthiest olive tree in your neighborhood.
For example, with temperatures rising, you may be watering your olive trees more than usual. But it is important to say that while an overwatered olive tree will have fragile leaves, these leaves will be still green and healthy-looking.
To avoid overwatering problems, observe olive tree overall health, look at its leaves, and check the soil situation. Your olive tree is going to tell you what it needs the most! Happy growing!
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Hi, I’m Vangelis Kleftogiannis, the founder of Oliviada and an established olive oil expert from Kalamata, Greece. My expertise isn’t just in producing quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but also in the cultivation and care of olive trees themselves. I am deeply committed to sharing my knowledge and know-how, helping others understand the intricacies of olive tree growing and the creation of quality olive oil.
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