I just bought a potted autumn olive that is about 4' high and slightly bushy and I'm trying to work out where best to plant it (by the way I am in the UK and it is not invasive here). We have the beginnings of a fruit orchard in one are (just a few young trees and bushes at this point) which gets good sun and is quite exposed, the kitchen garden near the house which is a mix of annual and perennial veg and some fruit, good sun, also fairly exposed, would benefit from a windbreak but obviously I don't want too much shading to happen. There are other options around for where to put it, too many really hence my dilemma! Is it worth trying to make use of it as a windbreak? Would it make sense along the future border of the orchard to shield from prevailing winds? If it grows well I will try layering and cutting to grow more.
It is a nitrogen fixer you want it to be surrounded on all sides by trees.
You really want your food forest to be at least 1/4 nitrogen fixer sometimes as much at 3/4.
Iterations are fine, we don't have to be perfect
Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
posted 5 years ago
Thanks for your reply. I am aware that it is N-fixing. Why do you suggest surrounding it on all sides with trees? Is this just in order to reap the maximum benefit from the N? Since one of our biggest challenges on this site at the moment is exposure to strong winds, I am thinking that it makes sense to make use of its fast-growing and dense properties to shield other plants.
I planted two per fruiting tree this past spring about 5 to 6 ft from the trunk of the tree and about the same distance apart from each other, forming roughly a right angle with the olives and the tree. I plan to add two or three more for each tree next year. If you have a particular direction where the winds are most powerful, best to plant it on the windward side of that which you want to protect. Is it possible to use several planted as a hedge on your site to act as a windbreak? It's my first time using autumn olive and I'm curious how it will respond on my site which is not much like it's native range in the eastern US. We are far drier and the soils are mildly alkaline. So far so good. It seems like a pretty tough plant. As for too much shading, manage by pruning if needed. I doubt in my less than ideal conditions, shading will not be too much of an issue. The tree will likely shade the olives out in the long run. Best of luck to you.
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