[NAFEX] autumn olive

Hector Black hblack1925 at fastmail.fm
Wed Sep 9 16:06:18 EDT 2009

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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