NicolS
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Olive tree problem

So, in the last few days, my potted olive tree has been showing signs of some kind of a disease. Since I'm living in a zone with freezing winters, I'm keeping it inside. I have no colder sunny room, so I'm just keeping it facing south window, far away from any heating vents.
Lately its leaves startit to go grey-ish dull color, curl up and die on entire branches, but they're not falling off. It seems like the branches are dying too, but only in a portion of a tree. The other half is still maintaining deep green leaves.

I've read that it could be a sign of verticillium wilt, but I'm not sure (I don't know if the photo is good enough to see it)
Image
(It seems like my olive tree hates water, because every time I try to water it [the waterings, I learned, can't be less than 1,5 week away] it drops half its healthy-looking foliage, so that's why it looks so scarce)

Does anybody know what could be the problem? We survived a severe scale infestation and throught the summer it was growing nicely, I'm not giving up on it.

tomc
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Re: Olive tree problem

If you can tap the pot its in and slide the whole root-mass out of the pot. Take a look at it. Note too how wet the soil is. And get back OK?
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NicolS
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Re: Olive tree problem

tomc wrote:If you can tap the pot its in and slide the whole root-mass out of the pot. Take a look at it. Note too how wet the soil is. And get back OK?
I checked the root ball. I didn't want to tear apart the smaller, more delicate roots, but they looked fine, white and firm, the soil wasn't too wet, but the middle was absolutely dry and hard. I don't understand because I kept it outside and two days ago it was raining the entire day.

The soil is a mix of a basic potting mix and a little bit of sand for better drainage.

I didn't get back sooner because someone advised me to move it outside to colder and more humid climate and I wanted to know how that turned out. It seemed to help, but it basically stopped on one half of the tree, which looks completely dried. Leaves stayed on the branches and now even those branches look dead, but the other half is absolutely intact and looks healthy.

Could it be that it was kept near to the terrace doors which got opened and closed regularly? Something like a temperature shock? (20°C inside, 5°C outside). Because I have no idea.

At least the drying-out stopped, but it still looks unhappy.

tomc
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Re: Olive tree problem

Door #1
Peat in soil can become hydrophobic (it repels water). Stab the root mass from the top & sides deeply. to open up soil ball, repot in the spring. Use your trusty chop stick as the weapon of choice.

Door #2
Root mass can become tight enough so that no water can enter it. Prune roots in spring when you repot. Water by immersion till spring.

Which exactly is your olives misery is, I'm not able to say from here, but these two would be my guess.

Reason to edit: Still kan't spell.
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NicolS
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Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:56 pm

Re: Olive tree problem

Thank You so much! Yes, that could be the problem. When I dragged the poor one out to see what's wrong, I shook out the root mass gently, separating the roots a bit. It was a bit pot-bound, but I planned on repotting it in the spring anyway. And the middle, right under the tree trunk and almost to the bottom of the pot was like a stone, like I never even watered it.

Even now, after stabbing the root mass, I had a hard time even getting through it. Thank God I have mean chopsticks.

I will follow your advice, thank You very much! I'll do an update when something changes.

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applestar
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Re: Olive tree problem

Yep I think immersion method will definitely help. Submerge entire pot and soil in water until it stops trying to float and all bubbles stop, then ALLOW TO DRAIN completely on raised surface. Don't water again too soon.
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NicolS
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Re: Olive tree problem

An update: The immersion method definitely helped! The tree looks so much happier, and is even putting up new growth! Some of the tips of the branches on the other half are too far gone (meaning dried up), but I'll take care of it by pruning soon. So happy to see that even there I can see a few new leaf buds and shoots.

Really, really thank you.

tomc
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Re: Olive tree problem

Nicole, talk about your olive from time to time. For most of northern hemisphere it is an exotic tree, and for much of the mediterainian is is a staple.
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PhillipP
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Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:00 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Olive tree problem

Hi NicolS

My olive tree has a similar problem so wondering how yours is now after a few years since you had the issue

Regards Phillip
Scotland

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