[NAFEX] autumn olive

John S swim_at_svc at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 9 22:09:52 EDT 2009


Hector knows more about autumn olive than I will likely learn, but I want to add my observations to his.  Here in Western PA, I've been visiting and following 4  "wild" autumn olive trees for at least 5 years and probably close to 10 years at this time.  The trees are apparently full grown.  One tree, usually the producer of the most fruit, is under assault from wild grapes and virginia creeper and clearly looks like it is going into decline. It produced very little fruit this year. Another tree which has never produced fruit in previous years produced a modest crop this year. All of these plants are growing on a steep hillside creek edge and are only marginally accessible to me.

There are a couple of seedlings in the area, struggling to compete with weeds and vines, but so far are surviving, but have not taken over by any measure.  So far, I have seen no evidence of invasiveness.  Considering the huge amount of seed produced, I would expect to see more seedlings than what I do.  Here is zone 5+, the fruits do not appear to linger during the winter.  Rather they tend to drop quickly after we start to get hard frosts and birds do not pay a lot of interest to it that I have observed.

Considering the productivity of the trees, the edibility of leaves, shoots and fruits, beauty, etc I think this one deserves more attention than what it is getting, and am willing to risk its invasiveness.

Around here, the nurseries actually sell Tartarian Honeysuckle, a seriously invasive, worthless plant that I see spreading everywhere.  Autumn Olive is valuable, much more so than many other more invasive plants routinely sold in the area. There appears to be no problems controlling it in the area that I can see, and I had to search a long time to find the ones I know about.


--- On Wed, 9/9/09, Hector Black <hblack1925 at fastmail.fm> wrote:

From: Hector Black <hblack1925 at fastmail.fm>
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] autumn olive
To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2009, 4:06 PM



 
 
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Hi Michele, 
 I understand the problem with invasion.  
It has been banned in Tenn. despite my writing about the benefits.  In our 
area it is to be found in unmowed fields.  Mowing once a year really keeps 
them out.  They make excellent forage, by the way.  About equal to 
legumes.  We sent sample fruits from several of our cultivars to the USDA 
in Md. and they were quite excited about the nutritional potential.  
Started to develop methods of mechanical harvesting, etc.  
       As I 
understand it, the whole family of Elaeagnaceae are pioneers.  They grow on 
poor soil, gravel bars etc. slowly improving the soil till other species of 
trees move in and shade them out.  The only place in the woods where I have 
seen them, is the spot where a tree has blown down allowing sunlight to 
penetrate.  Birds love the fruits which can hang on thru most of the 
winter, and bees love the nectar.  As you know, nitrogen is a very 
polluting element to create artificially, made from natural gas, I think.  
My nut trees interplanted with autumn olive are between 25% and 35% larger than 
trees planted at the same with without autumn olives.  Some black walnuts 
that sprouted up from underneath autumn olives are beautiful bearing specimens 
in half the time it took my other walnuts.
      All this, plus the 
fact that I'm a stubborn old man, explains my advocacy.   

      Best 
wishes,   Hector Black, middle TN zone 6

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: 
  M Stanton 
  To: 'North American Fruit Explorers' 
  
  Sent: Tuesday, September 08, 2009 3:53 
  PM
  Subject: [NAFEX] autumn olive
  

  
  After seeing the chatter about Autumn Olive, I couldn’t be 
  quiet any longer.  Here in Ohio ( and in much of the east),  the 
  plants are really invasive.  Originally planted for its wildlife value 
   and nitrogen-fixing capabilities, among other virtues, its use is now 
  highly discouraged in some states.   
     
  Both USDA and Ohio State researchers have looked at the 
  fruits’ antioxidant and  lycopene content.  The fruit makes a nice 
  ice-cream syrup and is pretty tasty, especially with a little sugar.  But 
  to encourage its use in many eastern ecosystems is just asking for 
  trouble.  New Mexico is dry enough that escapees may not be a risk, but 
  around here there are other better choices.  How about Cornus mas, for 
  example?  Cornelian cherries can be nice, too. 
     
  Michele in SW Ohio 
  
  

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