Some olive oil producing countries such as Greece, Italy and Croatia were affected last month by unusually low temperatures covering their olive trees in white. This in most cases it was more positive than destructive.
The cold can affect olive wood if the temperature drops to -7 ° C for 8-10 days, and may cause irreparable damage to the canopy and the trunk if the temperature falls below -10 / -12 ° C within a few hours.
However native varieties that have the capacity to adapt to the soil and weather conditions of the area, with snow for few days have positive results in the development and production of the tree. The cold is crucial for entering a period of vegetative rest to positively affect the development of the olive tree. While fewer hours of sunshine translated into less time for photosynthesis, the period of dormancy due to low temperatures promotes flowering.
An indisputable advantage of the low temperatures and snow is to drastically reduce the olive fruit fly population. In late autumn and winter most of the larvae leave the olive to create a cocoon in the soil. There is a high rate of mortality if the temperature drops below -5 / -6 ° C for several days.
In addition, freezing of water causes micro-cracks in the soil allowing better ventilation. If frost last for several days and the defrosting process is slow, it will be a great supply of water without runoff of organic substance.