Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual
Common Name: Autumn Olive
Scientific Name: Elaeagnus umbellata (Thunb.)
Autumn olive is an introduced, fast-growing woody shrub in the Elaeagnaceae (Oleaster) family. Used extensively for wildlife habitat, strip mine revegetation, and shelter belts, autumn olive thrives in disturbed areas open to full sun. It is adaptive, competitive, and vigorous, especially on open, sunny sites and it produces abundant fruit crops.
Cutting: Cut trees at ground level with power or manual saws. Cutting is most effective when trees have begun to flower to prevent seed production. Because autumn olive spreads by suckering, resprouts are common after treatment. Cutting is an initial control measure, and success will require either an herbicidal control or repeated cutting of resprouts.
Girdling: Use this method on large trees where the use of herbicides is not practical. Using a hand-axe, make a cut through the bark encircling the base of the tree, approximately 15 cm (6 in) above the ground. Be sure that the cut goes well into or below the cambium layer. This method will kill the top of the tree but resprouts are common, and may require follow-up treatments for several years until roots are exhausted.
Hand Pulling: Autumn olive is effectively controlled by manual removal of young seedlings. Plants should be pulled as soon as they are large enough to grasp, but before they produce seeds. Seedlings are best pulled after a rain when the soil is loose. The entire root must be removed since broken fragments may resprout.
Foliar Spray Method: This method should be considered for large thickets of autumn olive seedlings where risk to non-target species is minimal. Air temperature should be above 65Â°F to ensure absorption of herbicides.
Glyphosate: Apply a 2% solution of glyphosate and water plus a 0.5% non-ionic surfactant to thoroughly wet all leaves. Use a low pressure and coarse spray pattern to reduce spray drift damage to non-target species. Glyphosate is a non-selective systemic herbicide that may kill non-target, partially-sprayed plants.
Triclopyr: Apply a 2% solution of triclopyr and water plus a 0.5% non-ionic surfactant to thoroughly wet all leaves. Use a low pressure and coarse spray pattern to reduce spray drift damage to non-target species. Triclopyr is a selective herbicide for broadleaf species. In areas where desirable grasses are growing under or around autumn olive, triclopyr can be used without non-target damage.
Cut Stump Method: This control method should be considered when treating individual trees or where the presence of desirable species preclude foliar application. Stump treatments can be used as long as the ground is not frozen.
Glyphosate: Horizontally cut stems at or near ground level. Immediately apply a 50% solution of glyphosate and water to the cut stump, covering the outer 20% of the stump.
Triclopyr: Horizontally cut stems at or near ground level. Immediately apply a 50% solution of triclopyr and water to the cut stump, covering the outer 20% of the stump.
Basal Bark Method: This method is effective throughout the year as long as the ground is not frozen. Apply a mixture of 25% triclopyr and 75% horticultural oil to the basal parts of the tree to a height of 30-38 cm (12-15 in) from the ground. Thorough wetting is necessary for good control; spray until run-off is noticeable at the ground line.
Eckardt, N. Autumn olive: element stewardship abstract. The Nature Conservancy, Minneapolis, MN; 1987.
Kuhns, L. J. Controlling autumn olive with herbicides. Proceedings 40th Annual Meeting. Northeast Weed Science Society. 289-294; 1986.
Rehder, A. Manual of cultivated trees and shrubs. Vol. 1, 2nd ed. Portland, OR: Dioscorides Press; 1990.
Symonds, G. The shrub identification book. New York, NY: William Morrow & Co., 262-263; 1963.
Szafoni, R. E. Vegetation management guideline: autumn olive, Elaeagnus umbellata Thunb., Natural Areas Journal 11(2):121-123; 1991.
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