Question: olive tree

Why have my olive trees completely lost all the flowers? Perhaps because of the heavy rains that took place in May? Thanks

Answer: olive tree

Dear Antonio,
the olive trees are fruit plants that are cultivated very well in a Mediterranean climate, which manifests very hot summers, mild winters and fairly mild intermediate seasons; in 2013, unfortunately, spring was definitely very rainy, and minimum temperatures remained for weeks below the seasonal averages of the other years; for these two reasons, it is likely that the flowers of your olive trees have not been pollinated, with consequent fall, without the plant having produced any fruit. Consider that usually most of the flowers fall without being pollinated, more or less 20% of the flowers cannot be pollinated every year, due to various factors. The flowers of the olive tree are very small, and hermaphrodite, meaning they contain both male and female sexual organs; pollination usually takes place thanks to the wind, but it is clear that many external factors can elapse between when the flowers bloom, when they are pollinated by pollen from nearby flowers. The first fact is surely the rain, which falling in abundance causes the loss of pollen from the flowers: this pollen, however, wet from humidity, falls to the ground, without being able to pollinate the flowers. Even the cold is a fact that can limit the production of olives, because if it is excessive (especially with regard to nighttime minimum temperatures) it causes the premature fall of the flowers, before they can be pollinated. There are also several other factors; for example, the rains may have excessively saturated the soil, and therefore may have favored the development of rot, which is very dangerous for olive trees. Cold and high humidity could have caused not only unpollinated flowers to fall, but also those already pollinated, with consequent lack of fruit production. Unfortunately this phenomenon, although rare, happens, especially in those areas where the spring climate can be particularly cold; but not only, because the seasons can be particularly unfavorable even in climatic zones perfectly suited to the development of a particular plant. To give you an example, it also happens in the plantations of oranges of the Catania plain that late frosts cause the complete absence of orange production during a season. Fortunately, this type of event is quite rare, infrequent, but not impossible. Unfortunately in cases like these there is no remedy of any kind.