Autumn Olive – Friend or Foe?

October 5, 2016

WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE FOREST?

You may disagree, but I think this shrub is great for wildlife & humans alike despite its immigrant-status. Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) has been handed a scarlet letter labeling it as “invasive.” However, its fruit can be delicious. Even better, is that it is one of the only fruits available into late fall. Its roots fix nitrogen & the fruit (according to the USDA Agriculture Research Center) contains a tremendous amount of lycopene, which is thought to help fight cancer. Also, it resists deer browse, which is probably why it has become invasive. In any case, it grows fruit without pesticides or fertilizers. Who can resist such a shrub that tastes good & brings a smile to your daughter’s face?

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May the forest be with you,

Ryan Trapani

Education Forester

Catskill Forest Association