Why Does Olive Tree Has Dry Leaves After Winter

Olive trees are considered to be robust and easy to care for. Nevertheless, they can also have problems. If, for example, dry leaves appear on your olive tree after the winter, you should react quickly.

Damage after the winter

The olive (Olea europaea) originates from the Mediterranean region. This explains why the tree likes both a lot of sun and heat. Therefore, the olive tree is not suitable for outdoor culture in our cold winters.

When the olive is inspected in spring, minor and major damage may be noticed. Maybe you have noticed in between that some leaves fall from the tree, but you did not pay attention to it. If, however, some shoots are literally balding due to leaf fall, and in other places only dried foliage hangs on the tree, which crumbles between the fingers, it is very noticeable.

Dry leaves on the olive tree: causes

There are two main causes when an olive tree shows dry leaves after winter:

  • If the tree was outdoors, it got too much frost and froze at least partially.
  • If the tree was indoors, it was wintered too warm and too dry.
  • There is another possibility, but it is not so common: if the tree stood outdoors, it may also be so-called frost-dry. This means that the roots were not able to absorb enough water. The result is withered leaves and shoots.
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Save olive tree

It is possible to save the tree only if not all parts of the olive are affected by the damage. Therefore, first proceed as follows:

  • first determine the extent of the damage
  • if frostbite is suspected, scrape bark from affected shoots
  • green shoots are still alive
  • brown shoots are dead
  • remove dry leaves
  • pruning measures

In order for the olive tree to look beautiful again and grow well, it is necessary to remove all dry leaves and dried parts of the plant. However, this is not enough. The affected branches should be cut back to live wood. This not only shows the extent of the damage, it also helps the tree to close the wounds and sprout new growth.

Why Does Olive Tree Has Dry Leaves After Winter

How to properly overwinter olive tree

It is out of the question from the outset to simply leave the tree outside. Even if it has a protected location there or is provided with winter protection, this is not enough. The olive tree must be forced to overwinter indoors, but not in a warm living room. The olive, in order to remain healthy and vital, needs a rest in winter. Therefore, it must stand brightly, but cool. To avoid root damage due to waterlogging, watering should be very sparing. Fertilizer is not necessary.

Further prevention

Not only is proper wintering important to prevent leaf damage, such as dry leaves, from occurring on the olive tree. Despite its frugality, the olive also depends on care that meets its needs. This includes:

  • bright, preferably sunny location
  • observe winter dormancy
  • Put outdoors in summer
  • fertilize from time to time
  • do not let it dry out, but also do not let it stand too wet
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Frequently asked questions

Can the olive tree stand permanently in the room?

This is not advisable. Olive trees belong outdoors in the summer, where they get more sun and the humidity is better suited to their needs. If the plants are indoors all the time, they may start to deteriorate.

How to prune an olive?

The most important pruning measure has already been mentioned: cutting out dead shoots. In addition, shoots that are too long should be shortened so that the tree forms a dense crown. Below the desired crown height, all shoots that form are removed. Olive can be pruned into shape very well and can tolerate heavier pruning.

What can be the cause of dry leaves outside the winter?

Then either too dry or too wet a location comes into consideration. If the soil is too dry, water the tree thoroughly. If the tree is too wet, repot it, check the roots, remove dead roots and replant the tree.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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