In many local gardens and in the tub on the balcony or terrace, there are now the Mediterranean olive trees, which are quite easy to care for and robust. However, incorrect care can always lead to the leaf tips turning brown. The causes must then be found quickly so that no major damage occurs. This can be the wrong location, the wrong watering and fertilizing, mistakes in wintering or diseases and pests.

Recognize care errors

If the tips of the leaves appear brown on the olive tree, this can have many causes. Mostly it is a care mistake. The past care should now be checked urgently, the cause found and quickly remedied. Because first the tips of the leaves change color, then the whole leaf, which at the end falls off completely. In order for the tree to sprout again and become healthy, the mistake in the care must be corrected.

Fix nutrient deficiencies

It may be because of the fertilizer if the tips of the leaves on the olive tree suddenly turn brown. Because the leaves are the best place to see the state of health. If there is a lack of nutrients, then the olive tree indicates this via its leaves, which are the first to turn brown at the leaf tips. However, it can also be about over-fertilization of the tree. Therefore, if you suspect incorrect fertilizer application, proceed as follows:

  • if over-fertilized, remove the pot immediately
  • Fill in fresh substrate
  • do not fertilize for the next few weeks
  • if there is a lack of nitrogen
  • Immediately supply the appropriate fertilizer
  • Commercial citrus fertilizers are well suited
  • provide the olive tree with everything
  • Fertilize the plant in the tub every two weeks
  • Tree in the bed requires less fertilizer

If you are not sure whether it is due to the nutrients that the olive tree develops brown leaf tips, you can also submit a soil sample to an appropriate laboratory and have it tested.

Tip: Especially potted plants, as they are more common in the local latitudes in the olive tree, often suffer from nutrient deficiencies, as the given fertilizer is washed out more quickly with the irrigation water.

Change location

If the location is not suitable for the olive tree, the brown tips of the leaves can quickly appear. The lighting conditions that prevail here are particularly decisive as to whether the tree feels comfortable or not. Therefore, the ideal location for olive trees looks like this:

  • full sun and bright
  • midday sun is also well tolerated
  • The south-facing balcony or terrace is therefore ideal
  • Immediately move the plant in the bucket
  • in the garden not in the shade of a house
  • If cultivated in the bed, plant out if necessary
  • find a new, full sun location
  • Avoid lack of light in winter
  • set up plant lamps when wintering
Tip: The olive tree weakened by a lack of light that has been planted in the wrong location in the garden is better to dig out and replant than to remain in the dark place. This means that if it is implemented, it has the chance to recover, which is not the case if it remains.

Rethink watering

Olive trees cope less well with too much water than with prolonged drought. Plants that have been cultivated in a tub, in particular, are often given too much water and are exposed to waterlogging over a long period of time. Sooner or later this leads to root rot, which can also spread to the trunk. To fix this first and then to avoid it, you should proceed as follows:

  • Recognize waterlogging
  • Earth is wet, even on the surface
  • there is always water in the collecting plate
  • Repot the plant immediately
  • remove all old soil from the roots
  • Cut off rotten roots
  • Allow the root ball to air dry
  • better longer than too short
  • Clean the vessel
  • Apply drainage

The tree is only planted again when the roots are well dried. For this purpose, fresh, permeable and dry substrate is used. In the following period, care must be taken not to pour too much. Only when the soil has dried out does the plant need new and little water. After each watering process, the water should be poured out of the collecting plate half an hour later.

Tip: Olive trees come from the warm Mediterranean region. Here they are mostly on wide plantations and have to get by with natural rain, even in hot summer. As a result, the trees are more likely to tolerate prolonged drought than too much water.

Wrong wintering?

Especially when the olive tree is moved to a place inside in winter, it often happens that the leaf tips first discolor, the leaves dry out and then fall off. If there are only a few leaves, then this is the natural, regular leaf shedding, which also occurs in evergreen trees. If, on the other hand, many leaves change color, the winter location must be checked:

  • Winter quarters too dark and cool
  • put in a warmer location
  • Use plant lamps for light
  • Frost damage before moving into winter quarters
  • Immediately get inside and warm
  • cold ventilation at the winter location
  • Place the olive tree in a protected corner
  • often also an indication of low humidity
  • often occurs in heated living spaces
  • Set up the humidifier

Olive trees that are exposed to cold temperatures outdoors are wrapped with a plant fleece. Brushwood mats can be wrapped around the trunk and the soil is covered with a thick layer of mulch. As a rule, however, olive trees should be cultivated in pots in the local latitudes.

Recognize diseases

If the tips of the leaves on an olive tree turn brown, this could also be due to bacteria or a fungal attack. Fungi usually appear when the plant is already weakened from giving too much water. Bacteria often occur when the tree has been cut back with contaminated tools, for example. The bacteria sit on the cutting tool and thus enter the rest of the plant directly via the fresh interface. The various diseases on the olive tree can be recognized as follows:

  • the tree was cut beforehand
  • then bacteria could have gotten into it
  • cut all affected twigs and branches
  • with sharp and disinfected tools
  • Fertilizers as measures to combat internal causes
  • remove all affected branches and leaves in the event of a fungal attack
  • occurs when there is a build-up of moisture
  • for example under the fleece in winter
Tip: In order for an olive tree that is to be cultivated outdoors to be protected in winter to have enough air to circulate under the plant fleece, it is not placed close to the tree. It is better to use wooden slats and the plant fleece to build a sufficiently large protective box that can be placed over the entire olive tree in winter.

Detect pests

Especially in winter, when the olive tree is housed in too warm winter quarters, brown leaf tips occur due to pest infestation. It can be quickly identified whether the tree is caused by pests. The appropriate measures should be taken immediately in the following cases:

  • Mealybugs or scale insects
  • sit on the undersides of the leaves
  • Mealybugs secrete white secretions
  • also looks like cotton balls
  • Scale insects are easy to spot on leaves
  • Rinse the tree immediately
  • Spray with soapy water for several days
  • Wipe pests with a soft cloth
  • Use insecticides

As an immediate measure, the tree should be placed directly in a cooler place. Setting up a humidifier near the plant is also a suitable measure to prevent the pests from spreading further.

If the olive tree gets brown leaf tips in the tub or in the garden bed, this can have many causes that need to be found out. Only then can the appropriate rescue measures be initiated. As a rule, however, it is always due to a care mistake. This includes the location both in summer and in winter, as well as the correct watering and fertilization. This then also results in diseases or a pest infestation, which can also cause brown leaf tips. But also here the appropriate measures help so that the olive tree can continue to grow healthily.

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