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Hedgerow Autumn Olive- Keep or Pull?

 
pollinator
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My backyard forest border has an Autumn Olive growing prominently next to a Redbud. I'm cleaning up the woodline around the Redbud to do some herbs & native plantings and ran into this conundrum:

What's more Permie- Remove the Autumn Olive since it's so invasive, or keep it as part of a guild?
If I keep it, I'm getting some nitrogen fixing use out of something already there by planting around it.
If I pull it, I'm helping the overall natural ecosystem.

Leaning towards keeping it, because in the next lot over is the LARGEST Autumn Olive growth I've ever seen. It's something like a 30 foot diameter growth on land I don't own. So removing mine would do virtually nothing as far as invasive control. But maybe there's a viewpoint I'm missing... which is what yall are good at :)
 
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graft goumi on yours?
 
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I agree about trying to graft it. If not leave it. You can also graft a better culinary cultivar of autumn olive onto it
 
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Pollard it?
I pollard mulberry and copice locusts.
Chopping on any woody plant should cause some root die back and chopping on a nitrogen fixer should release nitrogen as well.
Maybe let it blossom and set fruit but not ripen, then hack all the growth back.
 
Matt Todd
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Great ideas! Never thought to graft Goumie, but I have a couple that are doing well and I've wanted to try grafting so this sounds like the perfect opportunity. In the meantime I'll just keep the AO pruned to a manageable size.
 
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I would personally keep the autumn olive if it isn't physically in the way because I love the berries....either as a walk by snack or else for making fruit leather.  It sounds like you live in an area where autumn olive is already naturalized so the surrounding plants will be spreading literally billions of seeds via the wildlife they are supporting (just one large bush produces something like 60,000 berries/seeds a year) so one more plant that you're eating berries from just can't make a difference as those billions of seeds around you will already be seeding available sites.  Many of us are convinced that autumn olive is providing a lot of ecological services in a world that is in very severe need of them.

If you don't like the berries then removing it, keeping it as a chop and drop or top working it all seem like great options to me.
 
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Matt,

I don’t know what all your goals are but I also have plenty of Autumn Olive along an old fence line and I keep it for a couple of reasons.

Reason #1.  Wildlife.  My Autumn Olive is a literal corridor for all sorts of wildlife.  Birds love to nest in it and deer pass between the bushes.  My hedgerow is so thick that the middle has been shaded out and died back, so there is a tunnel of vegetation that deer and other animals use.


Reason #2.  Wood chips.  I am obsessive about wood chips, especially for growing mushrooms.  I typically let my Autumn Olive grow for about 2 years and then cut it back and use the branches to run through a wood chipper.  I don’t so much pollard as William said (though that’s a great idea) as much as copice.  I have found that Autumn Olive is extremely resilient and will grow back year after year unless relentlessly cut back.

Possible reason #3.  Firewood.  Autumn Olive will never burn like a good hardwood, but it grows so fast it might not matter.

Just for reference, I am cutting back about 1/3-1/3 of my fence line each year and chipping and I can’t keep up.  It grows to fast and I always have a surplus of chips so I am in the bizarre position of actually looking for new ways to use chips, not more economical ways to use them.

Matt, your needs might well be different than mine, but if you like the idea of wood chips or mulch, those Autumn Olives might be a sustainable source of them.

Good luck,

Eric
 
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This stuff is way too invasive. Birds eat the fruit and spread them to to neighbors. Find another hedge that is easier to control. This forum covers too many life zones to suggest a specific shrub but in general there are quite a few berry bushes available for most climates that will not invade your community. Show some love to the folks around you!
 
greg mosser
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for what it’s worth, mark, topworking with goumi will also work to keep the autumn olive from fruiting.
 
Mark Trail
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greg mosser wrote:for what it’s worth, mark, topworking with goumi will also work to keep the autumn olive from fruiting.



Greg, is goumi a chemical that prevents fruit formation?
 
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Goumi is a fruit. Burnt Ridge Nursery has a good write up on it's benefits.
 
Mark Trail
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:Goumi is a fruit. Burnt Ridge Nursery has a good write up on it's benefits.



I don't see anything about grafting goumi scions onto autumn olive stock as a means preventing unloading a massive invasion of aggressive exotic shrubs on your neighborhood. And no information on plant hardiness nor how invasive the goumi itself is.. Around here, Eastern Red Cedar is a native potential privacy tree that could eventually be harvested for fire starter, moth repellent or furniture. Tea camellia is nutritious, has winter foliage, winter blooms and is not invasive here in zone 7B and zone 8.
 
greg mosser
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goumi is considerably less invasive. i have never seen an escaped one. they have a somewhat long stratification period (usually don’t germinate for 1.5-2 years). grafting goumi onto autumn olive (and then keeping the autumn olive from fruiting by means of rubbing out new shoots from below the graft) definitely keeps autumn olive seeds from spreading into the area. i’ve done this to several autumn olives at my place. to me it makes sense for someone who is considering keeping the shrub and in an area where there are many more (i.e. removing the one will not make a noticeable difference to the neighborhoods’ autumn olive risk) to change it to a better-tasting, less annoying-to-deal-with fruit. and it’s early fruit, too, pushes early fruit harvests into may! i usually see it listed as hardy to zones 5-9.
 
Greg Martin
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Greg, do you notice any differences in the Goumi that is grafted onto AO rootstock?  I was wondering if by any chance the Goumi bush grew larger, for example?
 
greg mosser
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not necessarily, but ask me again in ten years! the ones i know of are not yet to the the normal ‘full’ size of a normal goumi (about 6 ft).
 
Greg Martin
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I'll have to measure my earliest planted Goumi, but I'd guess it's over 8'.
 
greg mosser
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well, i still don’t know.
 
Greg Martin
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greg mosser wrote:well, i still don’t know.


Ok, just checked....my Goumi is actually 9.5' tall.  Wow, they get bigger than I've read I guess.  I'll check back with you in 5 years :)
 
greg mosser
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looks like plants for a future says ‘to 3 meters’.
 
William Bronson
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Mark Trail wrote:This stuff is way too invasive. Birds eat the fruit and spread them to to neighbors. Find another hedge that is easier to control. This forum covers too many life zones to suggest a specific shrub but in general there are quite a few berry bushes available for most climates that will not invade your community. Show some love to the folks around you!



That its not originally from the area isn't a reason to be rid of it, unless you think dandelions and plantains should also be eliminated.
The very fact that birds eat the fruit could be a reason to keep it, but if you'll take note, the OP tells us why eliminating this single plant isn't going to stem the spread in any significant sense.
I would be delight for such a plant to show up on my land, but I also allow locusts, boxelders and mulberries to spring up.
They all serve a purpose.

Leaning towards keeping it, because in the next lot over is the LARGEST Autumn Olive growth I've ever seen. It's something like a 30 foot diameter growth on land I don't own. So removing mine would do virtually nothing as far as invasive control.




 
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I'd leave the Autumn Olive, Matt. You said everyone around you has them, so I don't see a benefit to the environment, in ripping out what is surely the established home to many critters, and something those critters have come to depend on, for food, shelter, and more, in favor of something you'd have to start from scratch with. There's also the labor involved on your part, plus the disruption of good things that are likely happening, in the soil. I think your guild idea would be of better benefit to you, your wallet, and the micro-ecology surrounding that spot.
 
Greg Martin
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greg mosser wrote:looks like plants for a future says ‘to 3 meters’.


Good to know!  Thanks Greg.  Looks like mine still has 4" to go 👍
 
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