Photographic guide to deficiencies in the olive tree

The olive grove is a rustic crop very adapted to the Mediterranean environment, easy to germinate and very grateful for the fertilization and the water provided.

However, in calcareous soils and with a high pH, ​​it is common find some faults of the olive treeespecially with micronutrients.

To know what we are talking about, we can help ourselves with this photographic guide where we will find the visual symptoms of the main nutrient and micronutrient deficiencies in the olive grove.

read more: liquid fertilizer for olive trees: decision guide


Main deficiencies of the olive tree: macronutrients

Nitrogen deficiency

Lack of nitrogen generates small leaves, germination problems and a general chlorotic state. It differs from other deficiencies (magnesium or iron for example) because it is present in all the leaves and considerably reduces their size.

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Phosphorus deficiency in olive

Phosphorus deficiency in olive growing is quite easy to recognize, creating brown and purple spots on the upper part of the leaves.

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Potassium deficiency in olive

Potassium deficiency is quite common, especially in olive trees in arid areas, since the olive grove’s requirements for this element are very high.

Initially, it causes chlorosis in the upper part of the leaf, and if the deficiency persists, the spot turns brown and can be confused with an excess of sodium (phytotoxicity due to salts).

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calcium deficiency

Calcium deficiency is increasingly common, even in calcium-rich soils. It causes apical chlorosis of the tree, especially of young leaves, reducing the consistency of the tissues.

In a state of advanced deficiency, it causes malformations of new shoots.

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Magnesium deficiency in olive groves

The lack of magnesium in olive groves causes chlorotic borders on the edges and the top, keeping the base of the leaf green.

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Main deficiencies of the olive tree: micronutrients

The deficiencies of the olive tree vis-à-vis micronutrients are quite visual. Some like iron or boron are quite common, given their high need.

  • Boron: general visual aspect of the decay, with flower drop, deformation of the leaves and sterile fruits.
  • Copper: tips of old dried leaves and pale yellow young leaves. Quite rare given that copper treatments for plant health in olive groves are quite common.
  • Iron: Interveinal chlorosis of the youngest leaves.
  • Manganese: young leaves with pale green and yellow shades.
  • Molybdenum: leaves chlorotic in appearance and, at an advanced stage, narrow and more elongated.
  • Zinc: Young leaves have yellow bands on the lower part of the leaf.

Boron deficiency in olive groves

Boron represents an important deficiency of the olive tree, since it forms what is called “witches’ broom”. It causes malformations at the ends and rounded edges, with chlorosis at the apex, keeping the base of the leaf green.

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Iron deficiency in olive

Ferric chlorosis in olive trees is one of the most common deficiencies, since this crop is usually planted in calcareous areas, where the iron goes into an insoluble state and is hardly available for the roots (form of iron ).

The midrib remains green while the rest of the leaf turns chlorotic. In later stages, the entire leaf turns yellow and its size is reduced.

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manganese deficiency

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Zinc deficiency in olive groves

Zinc deficiency in olive trees is common in calcareous soils with high pH, ​​where this element becomes insoluble. Leaf edges become chlorotic, looking very much like manganese deficiency.

The size of the sheets is also reduced.

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All images have been obtained from the plant nutrition section of the Yara Olive Grove, where you can find interesting and high quality information to solve common problems of most crops and increase their production.

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