Managing invasive autumn olive 50 years after its introduction

Autumn olive was originally introduced more than 50 years ago as a tool for erosion control and habitat establishment, however, the deciduous shrub quickly took over the Midwest. (Courtesy photo)

MANISTEE — The Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network (ISN) is hosting an Autumn Olive Community Workshop to educate interested members of the public on proper identification of the invasive shrub and to demonstrate best management practices, both mechanical and chemical.

Landowners and land managers alike are encouraged to attend a free workshop from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Orchard Beach State Park Pavilion. State park entrance fees are still applicable.

Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) and its less common relative, Russian olive (E. angustifolia), were originally introduced – and encouraged – more than 50 years ago as a tool for erosion control and habitat establishment. Unfortunately, the deciduous shrub quickly took over the Midwest. With each plant having the potential to carry more than 200,000 seeds and grow up to 20 feet tall, autumn olive easily crowds out many native species that require a lot of sunlight, such as tree seedlings that would otherwise establish new forestland. Additionally, autumn olive can change the soil it grows in and doesn’t support the diversity of insects necessary to support the ecosystem.

Landowners and land managers alike are encouraged to attend a free workshop from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Orchard Beach State Park Pavilion to learn more about autumn olive. (Courtesy photo)

Luckily, with some effort and the correct knowledge, autumn olive can be managed with chemicals or using mechanical methods. Katie Grzesiak and Fields Ratliff of ISN, along with Josh Shields of the Manistee and Mason-Lake Conservation Districts and the Forestry Assistance Program (FAP) will review autumn olive at all life stages, provide hands-on demonstrations of control and restoration methods, and discuss landowner assistance programs.

For more information and to register, visit www.HabitatMatters.org or by contacting ISN Outreach Specialist, Emily Cook at ecook@gtcd.org or (231) 941-0960 ext. 20.

The Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network (ISN) is a collaboration of over 60 highly motivated and respected organizations in the region. ISN’s mission is to protect, enhance, and promote northwest Michigan’s natural communities through terrestrial invasive plant management and outreach. Its service area includes Manistee, Benzie, Leelanau, and Grand Traverse counties. More information can be found at HabitatMatters.org.

 

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