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Olive tree has white dots on leaves

hi I’ve bought an olive tree - very old and expensive - it’s a cloud olive tree. On some of the clouds the leaves have white dots? Is this a fungus? Plse help as cost a small fortune :) see pictures thank you 


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,174
    Can’t see clearly but I’ll put money on that being Hydrangea Leaf Scale insects.

    Info and advice here

    Hope that helps 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • YviestevieYviestevie Kingswinford, West MidlandsPosts: 6,896
    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
  • Hi thanks here are closer pictures 
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,537
    I agree with Dove it is leaf scale. Olives contained in a pot seem to suffer from it more than trees in the ground, particularly if they have been left to get too dry or in very poor soil. Olive trees in their natural environment- in the ground - can draw nutrients from the soil and their shallow, spreading roots can absorb a lot of rainwater. Although they don’t like sitting in water, they need more than you think. Most olive groves in the Mediterranean are irrigated. Another thing to look out for is Olive Scale - round, shiny black bugs on the stems.

    Give it a really good soaking, allow to drain out the bottom and repeat - if the compost/soil is dry you might need to do this several times, then give it a liquid seaweed or similar feed. Wipe off as much of the scale as you can. I can’t get methylated spirits here, but I believe if you wipe with that, that works.

    However, if you paid a small fortune for it, complain  to your supplier - it doesn't sound as if it has been well cared for...
  • Thanks for your advise both 
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,307
    It makes me sad such an old tree will spend its remaining years as an ornament in a pot. Being Greek I just can't comprehend it. Their place is a sunny olive grove...but nevermind. Hope it is healthy soon enough. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,537
    I know what you mean, George, but am less sentimental about the thousands of commercial hectares of regimented rows of olives grown in the south of Spain where I used to live. Mostly to meet the insatiable demand for olive oil from China.

    Still, it was a great shame to see beautiful mature specimens dug out for other crops, or worse, for golf courses that then didn’t get built. The OP’s tree is probably one of those, as I doubt it would be commercially viable to grow such ancient trees just for garden use. At least it has another life.

    One important point, Louise, did it come from a reputable source with a traceable phytosanitary certificate? Currently, thousands of olive trees infected (or at risk of being infected) with the devastating xylella disease are being dug up and destroyed. It wouldn’t surprise me if there was a black market export trade in trees that should have been incinerated!
  • Hi it’s a reputable garden centre. Called walkers and they tend to have show gardens at Chelsea. It’s been outside the cafe area for a few years now so not a recent import. It will have all the love and attention and the top we are putting it in is much bigger. Not looking forward to winter care though. I will be covering with fleece all the time.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,537
    edited August 2019
    Hopefully then, the original import came with a PSCert, but they usually stay with the plant. If they are a reputable GC I am sure they would be delighted to help if you had any worries or follow-up questions..

    Depending on your location, especially if your soil is well-drained, it would come through winters better in the ground if you had a suitable sunny, sheltered spot and you mulched the base well. Olive trees in the ground regularly took -12ºC where I used to live.

    I have a very large, old ornamental specimen that does fine in the ground here, in a mountain climate, planted in heavy, poorly drained clay, exposed to fierce winds, very hot summers, often freezing winters and occasional heavy snow falls. By all measures, it shouldn’t survive but it does. 

    Anyway, good luck and enjoy your tree.
  • jenny794jenny794 Posts: 30
    The Spanish dig up and move old olive trees all the time and keep them in pots. Even big trees can be perfectly happy in pots and smallish raised beds. You just need to take care of them. If this tree has been mistreated in the past it will need some time and TLC to bring it back to full health and until it is healthy again it will be susceptible to disease. 

    I have a villa in Andalucia and we have a lot of olive trees.  Yes your issue it is olive scale. But don't panic you can help the tree fight it off. You can use a tree/bark wash and there are a few specific scale treatments you can buy - let me know if you haven't found any yet and I can point you in the direction of a couple.  You will need to invest in a proper large sprayer to apply this. Scale is hard to get rid of and all the treatments only work by direct contact so you have cover the leaves above and below and gently wash the trunk. 
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