Russian Olive

pam_whitbyon(6 Niagara)June 19, 2005

I love the fragrance of the tiny blooms on this tree - intoxicating... Ahhhhhhhhhhh

There's a small stretch of the 401 highway running through Toronto, where the municipality has planted hundreds of Russian Olive trees on both sides. Driving through those during the last two humid weeks we've had has been SO breathtaking - I mentioned it to my mother when I was driving her home and she was shocked. She said she thought it was some kind of air freshener I had in the car:)

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Aren't they magnificent? Most people never know because rarely is it a 'desired' plant in the yard. I have some, fortunately and unfortunately, due to the whips and seedlings, etc, but they smell heavenly and perfume the whole yard when in bloom. Love it. Hate them at times. Can't win.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 11:16PM
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i like the fragrance but don't particularly like the plant (feel the same about asian privet, too).
there is one in the woods above my home and its fragrance will waft down into my yard.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 1:29PM
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I like the foliage but do not like the aroma of the flowers.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 9:49PM
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In my town this tree is considered a noxious weed. My mom almost cried when the city came and chopped them down on our lane. If they are pruned through out the year they are beautiful trees. The silver colored leaves gives a very nice contrast to other plants and trees in any garden. The trunks also can have an interesting shape in the winter if pruned regularly. I love this tree!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 4:39PM
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What part of the country do you live in, Tonayrose?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 10:14PM
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I can see how perhaps people think they are a nice looking with the foliage and smell (If you like it. I think that it stinks.) In reality it is a horrid invader. Where I live there are thousands(not an exageration) of them and when they are cut down they just send out dozens of runners that grow into a thorny grove of theives within the year. The young plants start setting fruit very young in life too. Birds go crazy with the fruit and spread it every where. They are prohibited in many states for good reason. It is too bad Washington state hasn't banned it. Anyone that is looking to plant this tree PLEASE be a responsible gardener and don't plant this tree. Your neighbors will like you a lot better and so will everyone else.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 10:05PM
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We have tons of those suckers on our property too, I don't really think they smell that great. The only good thing about them is that they do have nice foliage and they make good barriers for irritating neighbors who like to trespass and destroy your property among other things. That crap is everywhere, but they aren't as bad as that Japanese fleeceflower, that stuff is almost impossible to destroy.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 4:38PM
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It is confusing because there are two species of Eleagnus (actually more, but 2 are most important). People talk about the two as though they were the same plant with the same qualities but they are not.

Russian Olive (angustifolia) is a tree. It likes moist soil and takes 15 years to flower. It is the fragrant one. It is very beautiful and actually looks like an olive tree. Though it grows untidily -- it is actually not that vigorous -- branches of it turn leafless and die, hence the need for pruning.

However, Russian olive (the tree) has shown itself to be a pest in the Western USA because in desert areas it colonizes river banks and crowds out other species. It is not very invasive in the East but has the potential to be so, or so they say.

Autumn olive (umbellata) is a shrub. It withstands drought and was planted in the thousands by state governments as "wildlife shelter" in parks and roadsides. It has become a serious pest everywhere, I think, and should not be grown or planted commercially.

I love Russian Olive and am ready to defend it in the event it has been unjustly maligned, but I have accepted people's word that it is a potential problem that should never be introduced in wildlife plantings on the East coast as was done in the past. (It goes without saying it should not be planted in the Western US). As to whether it should permanently be banned from home gardens --- I am now an agnostic on this point.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 2:05AM
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elaeagnus angustifolia, umbellata and pungens are all on the non-native invasive plants list for the southeastern u.s. with e. pungens and e. umbellata mapped as having greater distribution ranges among these states.
you can always check your state's noxious weed list for invasive potential.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 11:04AM
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