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Olive trees

i have two five foot olive trees in large pots which have done very well for a number of years and I now keep out all year.

Every year there are plenty of flowers which last for weeks but then I notice the leaves around the flowers tightening up and a light web enfolds them and inside are greenish grey very small caterpillars 

please advise as to what they are and how to get rid of them and how do they just appear?!


  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

    Don't know what they are, but do you need to get rid of them? It doesn't sound as though your trees are suffering.  Caterpillars don't "just appear", they hatch from eggs which are laid by flying insects.  Which are mostly helpful because they pollinate the flowers.  Commercial growers may have good reason to destroy everything that moves, but increasing numbers of gardeners are finding that a garden buzzing with insects is healthier overall.

  • Sue446Sue446 Posts: 3

    Yes I DO want to get rid of them! They have destroyed the flowers going into olives and although I obviously don't harvest them the trees look unsightly and I've had to move other shrubs away from them in case they get infected too. Of course I do realise that the grubs/caterpillars don't appear without being hatched by a flying insect but I had wondered if the plant had somehow stored them to hatch at this time, maybe in the soil too, although they were repotted a couple of years ago. I really need the advice of an olive producer to let me know if this 'the norm'.

    Thanks anyway 

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    Your Olive plant sounds like it's been affected with Tortrix Moth Caterpillars. Realistically, you need to pick them off, but the issue is at what stage is your plant being affected. I suggest you cut off all the affected leaves and areas. Make sure your tools are cleaned thoroughly before and after.

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