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Fire safety tip: fire damage to olive trees

Olive trees are part and parcel of our landscape in Portugal especially in the Algarve and Alentejo regions. As such we are of the opinion that this short guide may be of assistance to these facing this type of situation after a fire.


Fire affected olive trees can look terrible at first glance; but olive trees could have the potential to recover and be productive again if managed well. Although olive trees recovery depends on the degree of heat damage, tree size and age, moisture stress before and after the event and the presence of undamaged trunks and scaffold branches above any graft unions. If cuttings were planted, all re-growth can be used to re-train a new tree.



Recovery of olives after fire is likely to involve pruning, replace or repair of the irrigation system, some nutrition management and lots of patience. Many of the trees affected do re-shoot.


When do olive trees die after a fire?

Complete death of olive trees from wildfire is more likely to occur in younger plantations that have a majority of trees with a stem diameter of less than 20 millimetres.


More guidelines to try and save your olive trees

Do not prune damaged trees until some regrowth is seen. If trees are grafted, ensure that the regrowth forming the new tree is occurring above the graft union.

Trees planted as cuttings can be retrained even if shoots emerge from ground level or below the soil surface.

Olives can begin re-sprouting within just a couple of weeks.

Irrigation will assist the speed at which full production can be achieved although volumes applied may need to be less.

Recovering trees only need half as much water due to the presence of a smaller leaf area per root zone volume.

Fertiliser will be less important than irrigation. Do not fertilize until there is sufficient growth to utilise it. Do not over-fertilise as re-growth is usually vigorous.


Note: Special thanks to all that has helped put this tip together.







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ASMAA Algarve Surf and Marine Activities Association
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  • ASMAA - Algarve Surf and Marine Activities Association
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    Porto de Môs
    Lagos 8600-580
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