Autumn Olive  is one of the plants listed on Virginia’s  list of invasive species.  Why?  Because, Autumn Olive, or Elaeagnus umbellata, threatens native ecosystems by out-competing and displacing native plant species, creating dense shade and interfering with natural plant succession and nutrient cycling.    It was widely planted in the past for wildlife habitat, as windbreaks and to restore deforested and degraded land, but herbivorous animals are not known to feed on it and few insects seem to utilize or bother it. The plant is drought tolerant and thrives in a variety of soil and moisture conditions allowing it to invade grasslands, fields, open woodlands and disturbed areas.  Because autumn olive is capable of fixing nitrogen in its roots, it can grow on bare mineral substrates.  There are ways to control this noxious plant, but first and foremost, do not plant autumn olive.  Plant native species like spice bush (Lindera benzoin), northern bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica), arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum), black haw (Viburnum prunifolium, or gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa).  TRhis is a good link for more info on Autumn Olive.

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