Think of it as our version of Kudzu. A nuisance plant that the government, displaying a great interest in farming although not a great knowledge thereof, encouraged people to plant for some reason now forgotten. Given that this is the same government that brought us the Dust Bowl, I suppose it is no surprise that Autumn Olive really isn’t that wonderful.
It is quite prolific in our hills and as a would be optomist I have found some good points about it. Firstly, it prevented runoff from the higher slops after the last logging, helping to keep the topsoil on our land. Secondly, it is a nitrogen fixer so the soil is far richer than it otherwise might have been, the sheer quantity of Autumn Olive testifies to how badly the soil here needed enriching. And thirdly, it grows bushlike in clumps. Much easier to remove than say bamboo, another Federal favorite.
Daddy has been out several days this week cutting down bushes. From him I have learned that Autumn Olive is a thorny bush and that they are growing so thickly in places that the cut branches cannot be pulled from their living companions. Removing them will be quite the chore. For one thing we need to keep them from growing back. The current plan is to plant a variety of clover, tall and short, which are also nitrogen fixers, to try to get the ground to the point where the Autumn Olive looses its advantage.