The trouble with invasiveness is most pronounced in the woods. Because Autumn Olive is a northern tree, it leafs out before the native trees do. It outcompetes them and begins to take over. I know it's popular in some permaculture circles, but I'd never encourage anyone to plant it, especially if it's not in their region already.
As far as the taste, Matu, it does take forever to ripen, and until then it is very tart and astringent. When it finally ripens I find it very sweet, although the birds have been waiting for it to ripen as well, and they might get there first. It makes excellent jam.
Thanks in advance!
holly wildcroft wrote:Thanks all for your input. I'm located in southeastern Idaho, I don't know if AO is native... I will do some research. I do know that russian olive grows all over here. Some like it, some hate it. Do any of you know of some smaller n-fixers? I have clover and comfrey (not a n-fixer, I know, but good for fertilizer as a mulch) growing now, but I'd like to plant something under or between my existing fruit trees(for n-fixation and predatory insect habitat), and space is limited.
Thanks in advance!
What size are your fruit trees? Most nurseries I've read report their Autumn Olive cultivars only reaching about 10 feet tall or so [perhaps 12.]
Goumi is in the same family at half the size with N-fixing power and tasty berries, but doesn't have the same reputation for fruiting power in the shade.
As for southeastern Idaho, what's your rainfall pattern look like? You're probably working with less than 18 inches of rain annually...
holly wildcroft wrote:Kyrt, I have apple, plum, and apricot trees, the bottom of the canopy is at about 5-7 feet, just high enough to walk under. I guess I could plant AO and keep it short? Yes our rainfall is less than 18in a year, but we irrigate once a week during the growing season. I don't mind having to prune it, I just don't want to plant something that is going to destroy my orchard.
Then Goumi is your best bet, if it's hardy enough for you. Shouldn't get over 8 feet tall, probably in the 5-7 foot range.
Initially this was for disc golfers (frisbee golfers) because it clears out the underside of the bush for them to get at their errant golf discs. But then I realized that what I was also doing was exposing the base of the olive, and the area around it, to sunlight. Hmm. What if I planted things in the middle of all that?
I plan to experiment this year with everything from tomatoes and beans to Kiwi, as well as planting some Oak and Hickory trees in those spaces. I have dozens. I'll share what I learn.
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