Autumn olive(Elaeagnus umbellata) is a medium to large deciduous tree or shrub growing up to 20 feet in height and 30 feet wide. Leaves are simple, alternate, and oval with a finely pointed tip, and grow 1-3 inches long with a dark-green upper surface and silver bottom. The bark and trunk are light gray to brown with numerous white lenticels. Branches are covered with sharp thorns that can reach several inches in length. Creamy-white flowers bloom in summer, ripening to small, round red berries by September. Autumn olive closely resembles invasive Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia).
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Autumn olive is commonly found along right-of-ways and on disturbed sites. It will also establish along forest edges or in canopy openings and along riparian corridors.
Threats & Impacts:
A prolific seed producer, autumn olive can be spread long distances by birds and other animals that consume its berries. Its ability to fix nitrogen can alter soil chemistry and make site conditions unfavorable for native species that depend on infertile soil. Thick patches may shade out lower growing plants and limit the establishment of native seedlings. Contact with the plant's spines may cause minor injury.
Mechanical: Small plants can be removed with a shovel or weed wrench. The entire root system must be removed to prevent resprouting. Remove plants before fruit production to minimize additional spread.
Chemical - Selective herbicide applications can be used to control larger individuals or infestations. Glyphosate can be applied as a foliar spray or cut stem application. For best results, treatments should be performed during periods of active growth and full leaf expansion. Triclopyr based products can be used as a basal bark spray. Always consult and follow the herbicide product label.