Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Hand pull: Any time of year when the ground is soft, especially after a rain, hand pull small plants by the base of the stem. Be sure to pull up the entire root system. Hang from a branch to prevent re-rooting. For larger plants, use a Weed Wrench™. Continue to monitor the area every year for new seedlings.
Cut stump: Repeated pruning of established plants to ground level without subsequent herbicide application is not effective for autumn olive control. Each re-growth results in a thicker stem base and denser branches.
Cut stump: Cut the plant 4 inches above the ground. Use a drip bottle to apply a 18-21% glyphosate solution to the stump within one hour of cutting. This is best done in late summer through winter when plants are transporting resources to their root systems.
Low volume foliar spray: This method is used for dense populations and best left to a contractor. During the summer months, July to August, spray a 2% glyphosate solution on the entire leaf surface of the plant. In order to avoid drift to native plants, spray only on calm days.
Autumn olive is a sun-loving shrub that invades Vermont’s open woodlands and fields.
Establishment and reproduction of Autumn and Russian olive is primarily by seed but vegetative propagation can also occur. Plants mature begin to flower and produce fruit between 3-5 years of age. Each plant produces abundant fruits and approximately 20,000-54,000 seeds per year. Seeds require cold stratification to germinate and have very high rates of germination (70-90%). Seeds can remain viable for up to 3 years.
Most fruits are eaten by birds and small mammals that disperse seeds or seeds fall to the ground by early winter.
Photo credits: (c) J. Allison Georgia Department of Natural Resources; (c) J. Miller USDA Forest Service; (c) C. Evans River to River CWMA; (c) B. Rice; (c) Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
- Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) is a prolific fruit producer. Single shrubs have been observed to bear up to 80 lbs. of fruit per growing season.
- Due to its large size, Autumn olive interferes with natural succession by creating dense shade that prohibits native plants from growing.
- The nitrogen-fixing capabilities of this species can interfere with the nitrogen cycle of native communities.
- Autumn olive was historically planted along roadsides and in abandoned fields as an ornamental and wildlife food plant, this characteristic makes Autumn olive an aggressive and competitive threat in open communities.