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Plant Diseases/Arbequina tree on life support


We purchased 3 arbequina 2 year-old olive trees in February. Unlike the other two, one of them has dried up and lost all its leaves about 3-4 weeks after being transplanted in soil from a vase. We are not sure if this was transplant shock or the effect of some frosty nights in Arizona this winter. The tree is still without leaves, but if I scrape off some bark it is still green. Some of the top branches though are a bit pale yellow if I scrape them. Could this tree be still alive after so many months? I am surprised it's still green after all these months looking dead. We keep on watering it and are not sure if we should continue watering or not since water is scarce in our neck of the woods and don't like to waste it. Any ideas if it has chances for survival and if it will ever surprise us one day and put on some leaves?

If you are still seeing green wood, then it very well may be alive.  I have a young tree in my own yard that I have been concerned with and the buds have just started to swell, so I understand your concern. This tree may be slower to leaf out and it is still spring, so I would give it another month.  

You can also check the moisture level in the soil to confirm that the tree needs water.  I would expect the actively growing trees to have a greater water requirement than a dormant tree, so you may be able to cut back the volume of water.

If it does not show evidence of bud swell or leaf development soon, it may have succumb to transplant shock.  But, I would not give up on it just yet.

Good luck!

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Jennifer Olson


Plant diseases affecting vegetables, fruits, nuts, lawns, trees, shrubs and ornamental plants. I have just volunteered as an expert on this site as of 01/2011.


Identification and management of plant diseases. Have been employed as a Plant Disease Diagnostician since 2002 and currently work in the Plant Disease and Insect Diagnostic Laboratory at the Oklahoma State University.

National Plant Diagnostic Network, Great Plains Diagnostic Network

B.S. Biology - Lebanon Valley College; M.S. Plant and Soil Sciences,concentration Plant Pathology - University of Delaware; Ph.D. in progress - Oklahoma State University.

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