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What happens if you overwater an olive tree?

Watering Olive Trees

Everybody knows that underwatering any plant can have serious consequences, but it’s equally as important to avoid overwatering. Olive trees are particularly susceptible to this, and watering yours too much could do serious harm – and even kill your tree.

Overwatering can occur whether your tree is planted in a pot or in the ground. Essentially, when the tree receives too much water, its roots are unable to cope – and being able to understand the warning signs could help you avoid losing your beautiful olive.

Warning Signs

The leaves

Though olive trees can’t speak, their leaves do give you considerable insight into their health. Are they brittle and fragile? Have they changed colour a little? Or, even more significantly, are they beginning to drop off more frequently than they normally would? If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, your tree may be getting too much water.

The fruit

Much like the leaves, if the fruit on your olive tree starts to drop off before it’s ripe, something is wrong – and overwatering is a potential cause.

What damage can overwatering do? And is it reversible?

Remember that olive trees are native to the Mediterranean, a hot, dry climate which is prone to drought. Despite this, they can survive perfectly fine in sub-zero temperatures, making them impressively hardy – but one thing they simply cannot cope with is an abundance of water.

An olive tree has small, shallow roots, and if it’s overwatered for too long these can rot away. Even if the tree does make it through in one piece, it might not be able to produce fruit again.

If you live in a particularly rainy region, overwatering can occur without you manually watering your olive tree at all. To avoid this from happening, ensure that you use the correct soil and that there’s adequate drainage. The same goes for potted olive trees – the water must be able to drain away effectively.

For more olive tree care tips and advice, explore our Advice and FAQs page.

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